81 cases of violation registered against Trust
The Uttarakhand government has registered 81 cases of violation of the Zamindari Abolition and Land Reforms (ZALR) Act and the Indian Stamps Act against Swamy Ramdev’s flagship project, the Patanjali Yog Peeth, and its sister organisations at Haridwar.
The action comes at a time when the Yoga guru is canvassing support for the Bharatiya Janata Party’s prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi
At a press conference here on Wednesday, Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna alleged that Ramdev had grabbed large chunks of land belonging to villagers and the government. Several pieces of property held by the Patanjali Trust turned out to be benami transactions with no trace of the owners, he said.
In the past, villagers in Haridwar staged demonstrations accusing Swami Ramdev of having grabbed their land.
The cases under the ZALR Act include encroachment by the Trust on about 7.8 acres of gram sabha and government land at Shantarshah and Aurangabad villages. The District Magistrate initiated proceedings to take back the land, Mr. Bahuguna said.
The Trust had purchased 387.5 acres of land at Aurangabad and Shivdaspur villages for establishing Patanjali University. But it was built only on about 20 acres and the rest was being used for agriculture and, possibly, being retained as a land bank for future commercial use, he said.
In another case, The Trust purchased 84.86 acres at Mustafabad village in the name of Patanjali Food and Herbal Park without seeking permission from authorities, it was alleged.
Moreover, permission granted to the Trust for purchasing 141.17 acres of land for manufacturing Ayurvedic medicines at Mustafabad was violated for, it was being used for producing, warehousing and marketing a whole range of Patanjali products like flour, oil, juices, honey, soaps, toothpaste and shampoo, Mr. Bahuguna said.
‘Bid to harass Yoga guru’
However, a Patanjali Yog Peeth spokesman said the Congress government was trying to harass Ramdev as he was speaking against corruption and seeking the return of black money stashed away in foreign banks.