Congress party demands a complete review of the illegal patronage provided by the BJP Government of Haryana to private players like Patanjali Group headed by yoga guru Baba Ramdev
Abdul Bari Masoud | Caravan Daily
NEW DELHI — The Congress Party on Saturday alleged that the ‘crusader’ against corruption ‘Baba’ Ramdev and his right hand man Acharya Balkrishna are ‘involved in a mega land scam’ running into hundreds of crores of rupees. They are the promoters of Patanjali group whose fortunes have jumped by leaps and bounds during the last five years of the BJP-led NDA government.
The party alleged that the deal was done with the “active connivance and blessings” of Haryana’s BJP government. It strongly demanded the inquiry into the deal and accountability of politicians and officers involved in the scam which falls under the Kot Village in district Faridabad of Haryana in the NCR Region.
Revealing the details of the alleged land scam at a press conference here at the party headquarters, Congress, spokesperson Pawan Khera claimed that the Patanjali group and Acharya Balkrishna along with some property dealers have acquired 400 acres of forest land falling in the Aravali Mountain range and the deal was done through power of attorneys.
Khera also alleged that the deal was done with the blessings of the Haryana government was of the BJP. He said that land has been categorised as ‘Gair mumkin Pahar’ by the state government and the Supreme Court which is called ‘Shamlat Zamin’ and it belongs to the Panchayat.
As per the law, there can be no cultivation or any other activity on such land.
Giving details of the land, Khera said that in 2011, the then State Government had ordered the Panchayat to vest ownership of the ‘commons’ and the issue is pending in the court of DC Faridabad.
It is said that four people representing 321 disputed land owners of these ‘village commons’ presented power of attorneys of about 400 acres of property. One, Praveen Kumar Sharma submitted copies of 104 PoAs as proof in the court who was acting as the authorized representative of a company called Herbo Ved Gram Pvt. Ltd.
Congress leader claimed that as per the regulatory filings (2016-2017), this company was fully owned by Patanjali Ayurved Limited and in 2017-2018 the ownership of 99 percentage was transferred to Acharya Balkrishna.
“The regulatory filing also shows that this company had purchased many pieces of land in Kot Village by paying advances to the land owners against their land. As per the 2017-2018 records, this company has earned only Rs 60,000 as revenue from its operations, but gave advance of Rs 16.77 crores, including Rs. 15.58 cr, as advance were given for land.”
There is another company called Verve Corporation Pvt. Ltd and in 2016-17, this company was also owned by the Patanjali Ayurved Ltd. and was later taken over by Acharya Balkrishna, he added.
“The company has two Directors – Mrs. Saroj Sharma and Shri Kishna Vir Sharma – sister and brother-in-law of Shri Parveen Kumar Sharma. Incidentally, Mr. Kishan Veer Sharma is in the Board of Directors of Sanskar TV and Managing Director of the Aastha Broadcasting Network Ltd. – both these Broadcasting Companies are a part of so-called Shri Ramdev empire.”
On February 1, 2019, the Director General of Consolidation of Holdings ordered that the village land holdings be consolidated. As per the law, consolidation is only done for agricultural holdings, he said and adding that in Kot Village, the consolidation has been ordered for the entire village including the ‘Shamlat’ land and ‘Gair Mumkin Pahar’.
“The total land of this village is 3,184 acres out of which 258 acres is owned by private individuals, and 2,926 acre is ‘shamlat’ land. Out of this, 2,926 acres, 2,745 acres is ‘Gair Mumkin Pahar’. This order of consolidation violates the Supreme Court judgment of 2011 ordering return of all common lands including ‘Shamlat’ land to the respective Panchayats.”
Pointing towards the alleged complicity of the Haryana government, Khera said on January 27, this year the Haryana Assembly passed an amendment to the Punjab Land Preservation (PLPA) Act 1900 to pave the way for deal.
“This law is meant to protect forested areas which are not formally recognized as forest land. The said amendment was meant to do away with the immunity enjoyed by such lands and also meant to directly benefit private real estate interests. Fortunately, this amendment was immediately stayed by the Supreme Court.”
In response to a question, the Congress spokesperson said he has presented all the facts of scam as there is no room for “assumption or presumption”.
“These are facts. Let there be an enquiry. Let the kind of help being provided by the State Government through the Consolidation Order through attempts to dilute and do away with PLPA, let that come to a standstill till such time enquiry is conducted. Let there be fixation of accountability on who exactly was helping Ramdev and Balkrishna Ji”, he said.
Congress party demands a complete review of the illegal patronage provided by the State Government of Haryana to private players like Patanjali at the expense of the eco sensitive zone of the Aravali Mountain range and all the activities should be immediately stopped till investigation is completed, he said.
Baba Ramdev is had actively campaigned against the alleged corruption under the UPA government and had supported the BJP and Narendra Modi in the run up to the 2014 Elections. Now his company has set an ambitious target of Rs 20,000 crore in annual revenues for itself. The company that started out as a small pharmacy quickly has exponentially grown to challenge multinational FMCG giants as it expanded into diverse products. Its revenue for 2016-17 crossed Rs 10,000 crore from nearly Rs 500 crore just six years ago.