The Uttarakhand Government has registered 81 cases against the Patanjali Yog Peeth and its sister concerns in Haridwar for violation of the Zamindari Abolition and Land Reforms (ZALR) Act and the Indian Stamps Act.

Speaking at a press conference in Dehra Dun on Wednesday, Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna said several of the properties held by the Patanjali trust had turned out to be benami transactions with no trace of the owners. Irate villagers in Haridwar have in the past staged demonstrations accusing Swami Ramdev of having grabbed their land.

The District Magistrate Haridwar had initiated prosecution in 81 cases and action in many more cases would be initiated soon, Mr. Bahuguna said. The cases under the ZALR Act include encroachment upon about 7.8 acres of gram sabha and Government land by the Trust in villages Shantarshah and Aurangabad and the District Magistrate had initiated proceedings to take back the land, Mr. Bahuguna said.

The Trust had purchased 387.5 acres of land in villages Aurangabad and Shivdaspur for establishing the Patanjali University. The varsity was built on about 20 acres and the rest was being used for agriculture and possibly being retained as a land bank for future commercial uses. The Trust purchased 84.86 acres of land in village Mustafabad in the name of Patanjali Food and Herbal Park without seeking necessary permission from the authorities. This, Mr. Bahuguna said was a serious violation of the law and suitable action would be taken against the Trust.

Similarly, the permission granted to purchase 141.17 acres of land for manufacturing ayurvedic medicines in village Mustafabad was being violated by using the land for manufacturing, warehousing and marketing of a whole range of Patanjali products like flour, oil, juices, honey, soaps, toothpaste and shampoo, Mr. Bahuguna said.

Prosecution had also been initiated in 52 cases of undervaluation of the stamp duty that caused a loss of Rs 10 crores to the State exchequer.

A spokesman of the Patanjali Yog Peeth said that the Congress Government was trying to harass Swami Ramdev as he was speaking against corruption and seeking the return of black money in foreign banks.