I’ve tried to compile a preliminary draft RTI application to Deputy Commissioner, Haridwar, below. The information, once finalised, will be dropped into the draft RTI form I published yesterday.
Please provide comments/ thoughts. Share this widely so any potential additional information request can be included at the same time. All this is found my my booklet The Truth about Ramdev.
c/o Deputy Commissioner
Haridwar [Email: firstname.lastname@example.org] – 249403
Subject matter of the information request:
Information about the land and the various cases relating to the land occupied in Uttarakhand by activities under the banner of Ramkishan Yadav (popularly known as Baba Ramdev) and various trusts and companies operated under his banner in the State of Uttarakhand , including what can be called the Patanjali trusts (such as Patanjali Yogpeeth Trust Divya Yoga Mandir Trust and Bharat Swabhiman Trust) and companies owned or managed by such Truasts and his brothers Dev dutta and Ram Bharat, brother-in-law Jasdev Shastri, Acharya Balakrishna and Swami Muktananad or through others.
The period to which the information relates:
2000 to date.
Specific details of information in less than 500 words: Details may be attached on additional A4 size paper if required.
It was reported in Tehelka on on 18 June 2011 (http://archive.tehelka.com/story_main49.asp?filename=Ne180611Coverstory2.asp] that two government orders in the month of July 2008 allowed the trusts and companies run by Baba Ramdev to buy 1,700 bighas (1 bigha is 800 sq m). Out of this, Baba asked the government to convert the 800 bighas in Mustafabad into industrial land.
Also, on 2 August 2010, the Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM), Haridwar, found Ramdev’s trust guilty of evading stamp duty to the tune of several lakh rupees. The SDM found that 16 properties purchased by Patanjali Ayurveda Limited were grossly undervalued to reduce the stamp duty paid. The SDM asked the company to not only pay the balance Rs 9 lakh stamp duty but also a penalty of Rs 5 lakh. Patanjali Ayurveda had purchased these properties right next to the National Highway but then tried to undervalue it.
The 18 June 2011 report of Tehelka also reported that the SDM Harveer Singh of Haridwar had investigated about 200 bighas which belonged to the village panchayat in Aurangabad and had allegedly been illegally occupied by Ramdev for the Yoga Gram. The report of 5 Ma reportedly says that “In the disputed area, an effort was being made to extend the area of Yoga Gram by constructing a wall in the dry riverbed. When we reached there, it was under construction and we forced them to stop. Apart from this, a path used by Aurangabad villagers to go to the jungle after crossing the river has also been blocked. When asked about the encroachment, the authorities of Yoga Gram told the SDM that the area was barricaded because of the fear of wild animals and since the area is so vast, we didn’t know that we had encroached upon the government land. Further 2.982 hectares of government land was encroached upon by the Yoga Gram according to the SDM.
Apparently the land on which the Yoga Gram is established is not registered in the name of Yoga Gram but Kashtkar (according to the Revenue Department).
It was reported in The Hindu on 20 November 2013 that the then Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna announced that several properties held by the Patanjali trust had turned out to be benami transactions with no trace of the owners. [http://bit.ly/Xn9sjE] The CM announced that the Uttarakhand Government had registered 81 cases against Baba Ramdev and Patanjali Yogpeeth for violation of the Zamindari Abolition and Land Reforms (ZALR) Act and the Indian Stamps Act. Of the 81 cases, 29 relate to illegal possession of land while 52 relate to evasion of tax and revenue, mainly relating to undervaluation of stamp duty that caused a loss of Rs.10 crores to the state exchequer.
It is understood that the Patanjali Trust had purchased 387.5 acres of land in Aurangabad and Shivdaspur villages of Haridwar district for establishing the Patanjali University, which was built just on about 20 acres. The rest of the land was being used for agriculture and has been retained as a land bank for future commercial uses.
Also, 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. The District Magistrate Nidhi Pandey found that no permission was taken by Ramdev in this regard. The DM 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.
It was reported in The Economic Times on Dec 12, 2013 that a further 15 cases were lodged in December against Ramdev, making a total of 96 cases.
I seek the following:
1) Copies of inquiry report and orders issued by the Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM), Haridwar to Patanjali Ayurveda Limited on 2 August 2010 or thereabouts, who found Ramdev’s trust guilty of evading stamp duty to the tune of several lakh rupees.
2) Copies of the inquiruy reports by the district administration on encorachments by Ramdev’s organisations such as in Yogram.
3) Copy of all documents of the 96 cases and any other cases so far lodged against Ramdev and/or his trusts, including:
- the investigation report/s by the authorities;
- all attachments cited in the report/s including photocopy of the land records (including name of Village, Khata No., Khasara No., area in bighas, area in acres, name of land holder, name of father of the land owner, address of the land owner, date of purchase);
- all government permissions regarding Ramdev’s lands (such as the 2008 order allowing the purchase of of July 2008 allowed the trusts and companies run by Baba Ramdev to buy 1,700 bighas or permissions – if any – to create Yog Gram); and
- efforts made to trace the registered land owners;
4) Copy of documents that provide a formal estimate of land value and stamp duty for each land investigated, and details of the estimation of the loss of Rs.10 crores (or more) to the exchequer, including all documentation that forms part of the prosecution case.
5) All subsequent documents related to the cases including record of the action/s taken by the Uttarakhand Government to prosecute Baba Ramdev and his many trusts, and copies of any any consequent judgements.
6) Copy of any investigations carried out by the Uttarakhand Government into sources of income of Baba Ramdev, his relatives and partners such as Muktananda and/or other the land owners who have purchased the land occupied by the trusts, and/or of his trust/s.
7) Copy of any documents relating tso the seizure of land for which registered owner could not be traced (benami owner) after due effort, or seizure of land which exceeds the limits prescribed by the law.
8) Copy of land records with full details of ownership, value, and date of purchases, relating to any activities conducted under the banner of Baba Ramdev anywhere in Uttarakhand, including but not limited to Mustafabad, Aurangabad, Shivdaspur (alias Teliwala), Shantarshah, Bahadurpur, Badehi or Rajputan.