Thoughts on economics and liberty

Is there something fishy about Ramdev and his “empire”? #3

Now for a broader set of issues re: Ramdev's "empire". Leaving aside his support for black money in elections and his waving away the issue of audit, I now have verbal information that his organisations are violating India's rules and regulations and generating black money for the relatives of Ramdev. I had heard such an allegation from one of Ramdev's relatives last year in relation to Yashpal Shastri (Ramdev's brother-in-law). Such allegation being hearsay, however, I was unable to act, nor had any time to pursue. 
 
But in the recent past I've heard much more – including some truly scandalous things. Leaving aside the scandalous things, let me focus on corruption/ black money allegations.
 
"Standard" allegations
Some allegations are "standard" in that these have already been widely published, e.g.
  • taxes are being evaded on what are primarily commercial activities (several cases pending with tax authorities on this count)
  • excise duty is being evaded through false declarations
  • violation/s of FEMA (cases pending with the Enforcement Directorate)
  • the issue of illegal land deals (Telelka). These include allegations that his people forcefully acquired land from farmers
  • allegations about running over 200 companies (e.g. Wikipedia).etc. 

New allegations

New allegations include that:

1) a number of suppliers & creditors are not paid their dues, particularly many small farmers.

2) the Government of India granted about Rs. 50 Crores for promoting a food processing business hub in the Food Park, Patanjali. However, these funds have allegedly been used for activities unrelated to such promotion, thus the grant has allegedly been misused. 

3) Manipulation of financial records: All financial matters have been handled by a single agency (Anil Ashok & Associates) acting as internal and external auditor for the past many years. Debts are a particular tricky issue. Relatives of Ramdev are allegedly key beneficiaries of such manipulation. Money laundering is allegedly a key activity in Ramdev's "empire".

The only way I can validate these allegations is through transparency and openness. I invite Ramdev and his group to publicise their side of the story through evidence and data.

THE STORY I'VE BEEN TOLD BY RAMDEV

Ramdev told me that he does not own a single rupee nor any land. All accounts of the entities associated with him (managed by independent Trusts or companies, through Balkrishna) are regularly audited and provided to necessary authorities. I was told that as a charitable Trust, the Bharat Swabhiman Trust had received authorised income tax exemptions from government. The work it does is entirely charitable. No one is charged to attend any Bharat Swabhiman camp.

However, I've now formed a strong suspicion that much of the information Ramdev told me was false. I need to physically see the relevant documents.

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Sanjeev Sabhlok

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