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Uttarakhand govt says Ramdev's trust broke land laws

By Shishir Prashant
November 21, 2013 12:32 IST
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Haridwar district magistrate initiates action to evict the trust from the plot, reports Shishir Prashant.

Yoga guru Ramdev on Wednesday had fresh troubles staring at him, after an inquiry conducted by the Uttarakhand government alleged that his Patanjali Yogpeeth Trust committed gross violations of laws with regard to the land purchased by the trust in Haridwar district during the past few years.

“The Patanjali Yogpeeth committed serious breaches of land laws where it encroached upon gram sabha and government land comprising 7.766 acres at villages Shantar Shah and Aurangabad in the district,” said Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna.

“When Baba Ramdev speaks about moral values he should also think of the land grabbing that has taken place at Haridwar by Patanjali Yogpeeth. We will take stern action in this regard,” the chief minister added.

After the inquiry, Haridwar District Magistrate Nidhi Pandey had also initiated legal action to evict the trust from the illegal possession of land under the section 122 of the Zamindari Abolition and Land Reforms Act. The DM also “noticed” many benami transactions of land in favour of the Yogpeeth.

About 387.5 acres were purchased at Haridwar for establishing the Patanjali University but the campus has been set up only in the “insignificant” of land, the inquiry report said. The large chunk of the land was being used for agriculture purpose, possibly being retained by the trust as land bank for commercial uses in the future, the inquiry said.

The report also raised fingers on Ramdev’s vast food and herbal park at Mustafabad village in Haridwar, where 84.86 acres of land was purchased. The DM said no permission was taken by Ramdev in this regard. The DM has also initiated action to vest this land under section 167 of the ZALR Act. The government had granted permission to the Patanjali Yogpeeth Trust for purchase of 141.17 acres of land for manufacture of ayurvedic medicines and research in Mustafabad village.

But this land was used for food park, which was a “blatant violation” of terms and conditions for the purchase of the land, the report said.

Moreover, 52instances of stamp duty violations have also come to notice of the government, causing a revenue loss of Rs 10 crore to the state exchequer, the report said.

In all 81 cases have been registered against Patanjali Yogpeeth Trust and many more cases are likely to be registered against the trust shortly.

The centre in the past had served income tax and labour violation law notices on Ramdev’s Divya Pharmacy trust also. When contacted, an official of the Patanjali Trust said Baba Ramdev would give an “appropriate reply” on the issue shortly.

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Shishir Prashant in Dehradun
Source: source