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Union minister Smriti Irani and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath today assailed a trust headed by Congress president Sonia Gandhi for allegedly not restoring a piece of land acquired for setting up an industrial unit to farmers after its closure, insisting it amounted to "land grab".
Speaking at a public meeting here, Adityanath said the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation Trust chaired by Sonia Gandhi had "grabbed" land in the name of running a manufacturing unit- Samrat Cycles.
"We will defeat the designs to grab the land in the name of Samrat Cycles by the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation Trust...these are the values of the past when it was the son-in-law grabbing land in one place, while on the other hand, the son himself is doing it...this will not be allowed in Uttar Pradesh," the chief minister said in an apparent reference to Robert Vadra and Rahul Gandhi.
Adityanath said either an industry will be set up on the land acquired from farmers or it will be returned to them. He said the government will not allow it to fall into the hands of "any foundation or family".
"What has the Congress been doing in this country for the past 55 to 60 years...what has this foundation (Trust) been doing...the government had been spending crores of rupees on this foundation, where has that money gone?" he said.
In her speech, Irani claimed Rahul Gandhi, who often speaks about the plight of farmers, has not yet returned the land occupied by the Trust in Amethi.
She said the farmers had offered their land to the state government for setting up an industry which could provide jobs, but after the factory closed down, its land was taken over by the foundation which is not involved in any commercial activity.
"There is an order stating that the said land should be returned to the Uttar Pradesh government...Rahulji's 'kabza' (occupation) of farmers' land should end. The affected farmers are saying Rahul Gandhi has been giving speeches about providing relief to their fraternity, but he has not returned the land to them," she said.
Rebutting the allegations by the two leaders, senior Congress leader Akhilesh Pratap Singh said the 66-acre land parcel was bought by the Trust in an auction after the bicycle company was declared bankrupt by the Delhi High Court.
"All these allegations of Congress grabbing the land are a bundle of lies," he said.