Funding political party? IT probing Ramdev Trust accounts

Dehra Dun : There have been allegations by various political leaders, particularly of the Congress party, that yoga guru Baba Ramdev is using his ‘shivirs’ for propagating a particular party and the BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi; and now there area fears that he could also be using his Trusts to fund the election campaign.

Yog Guru, Baba Ramdev wiht BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi
Yoga Guru, Baba Ramdev wiht BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi

At least this is what impression has been gathered in Uttarakhand following a directive by the Election Commission to the District Magistrate Haridwar, where the headquarters of the Trusts are located, to have a financial audit done of the Trusts run by Baba Ramdev and check whether any money is being given for funding the election campaign of a particular party.

Confirming that such directives had been received, district magistrate Haridwar, Dr. S Pandiyan said that the accounts of three Trusts were being probed to see whether any huge sums of money were being given to the funding of election campaigns. The three Trusts whose accounts are being checked are Divya Yog Mandir Trust, Bharat Swabhiman Trust and Patanjali Yogpeeth Trust.

It may be mentioned here that a resident of Bijapur district in Karnataka district, B S Patel had in a complaint sent to the website of the Election Commission alleged that:

The three Trusts of the yoga guru get donations from the common man, but this money and the machinery of these organizations was being misused for political parties.

Dr. Pandiyan further said that a high level team of the Income Tax department had come and started probing the accounts of the three Trusts. However, he categorically stated that he could not say anything at this point of time and only when the team submits its report then will it be known whether there is any truth in the allegations.

Incidentally, the yoga guru has been a thorn in the Congress flesh for quite some time now and has been very vocal in his support to the BJP and its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi. There have also been reports appearing in a section of the media that the yoga guru had sought tickets for the Lok Sabha elections for some of his close supporters from the BJP.

Though Baba Ramdev has categorically denied time and again that he is not using his yoga ‘shivirs’ for political purposes not is he campaigning for any individual or party for them, his close associate Acharya Balkrishna said that there was not an iota of truth in the complaint or the allegations that were being leveled including the Trusts funding any political party or individual.

He added:

All transactions of the three Trusts are done through commercial banks and their accounts are audited from time to time. The government or the Income Tax department can probe the accounts of the Trusts and truth will eventually prevail

Asserting that for the last three to four years there have been a number of allegations against the Trusts being run by Baba Ramdev, he said that they were only vindictive efforts on the part of certain concerned persons to harass them and the accounts of the Trusts had also been seized at one point of time and they had got relief from the courts.

A journalist with over 40 years of experience, Jagdish Bhatt is Editor Hill Post (Uttarakhand). Jagdish has worked with India's leading English dailies, which include Times of India, Indian Express, Pioneer and several other reputed publications. A highly acclaimed journalist, Jagdish is a recipient of many awards, latest being the 2011 Development Journalism Award. He lives in Dehra Dun.

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