M A I N   N E W S

No back-door talks with Ramdev: Moily

Dehradun, June 11
The government is not engaged in any “back-door” dialogue with yoga guru Ramdev, who went on an indefinite fast on the issue of repatriation of black money, Union Law Minister M Veerappa Moily today said. “There is no back-door and open door talks with any one. Whether it is Ramdev or anyone,” he told reporters here.

However, Moily evaded reply when asked whether the government had sought the help of Art of Living founder Sri Sri Ravishankar for negotiations with the yoga guru to end his eight-day-old agitation.

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar today met Baba Ramdev and joined the chorus of appeals to Ramdev to end his eight-day fast against corruption.

Meanwhile, Ramdev (46), who is being treated by doctors at the Himalayan Institute of Medical Sciences here after his condition deteriorated yesterday, remained adamant and showed no signs of ending his fast. Doctors in the evening said Ramdev's condition was “stable” but his continuously falling blood pressure and pulse rate is a matter of concern. “Just to prevent him from slipping into a coma, we have requested swamiji for oral feeding,” Medical Superintendent of the hospital Dr S L Jethani told reporters.

“Ethically we cannot go for forceful feeding. If fluctuation continues, then we may ask the district administration to take necessary action,” he said.

The Art of Living founder on his part said the Centre had not asked him to negotiate with Ramdev for ending his fast against black money and corruption. “Though he is determined, I am adamant too. I will get his fast broken,” Ravi Shankar said.

In another development, activist Swami Agnivesh met Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee to discuss the Ramdev issue in New Delhi yesterday, suggesting that the government may want to start a new round of discussions with the yoga teacher. — PTI 




Empire under scanner
Aditi Tandon/TNS

New Delhi, June 11
After putting the fortunes of Acharya Balkrishna, the key aide of a fasting Baba Ramdev, under the scanner, the Government is likely to turn the searchlight towards other top aides of the yoga guru, including his financial advisors and some former and current executives of Aastha Channel.

The channel is run by Vedic Broadcasting Limited, where Balkrishna is one of the directors with 99.9 per cent stake; the company reported an annual turnover of Rs 19.26 crore in 2009-2010.

The role of another of close Ramdev aides’ Santosh Kumar Jain may also be probed, it is learnt. Jain has been the director of Aastha Channel and is said to be actively involved with the affairs of the Vedic Broadcasting Limited. Aastha Channel currently has an international presence since it feeds the UK, US, Canada and Mauritius. Its dealings are being scanned.

Another former director of this channel, Hiren Doshi, who, at one time, is said to have managed the accounts Continued on page 8

From page 1

of Baba Ramdev (but no longer works for him), could also be probed for leads into the latter’s multi-crore empire, much of which is alleged to have been acquired through illegal means.

It is also learnt that the role of a former top Sahara Group executive O.P. Srivastava, currently reported to be financial advisor to Baba Ramdev, may be explored in this connection. The modus operandi Baba used to run his distribution network is also likely to be traced. In this connection, some Angadias could be trailed. Angadias are part of India’s traditional courier service which is run by unassuming men who carry valuable materials on sheer trust. They are preferred by diamond merchants as they leave no trails in the books.

The Finance Ministry is said to be on the job and could alert agencies like the Enforcement Directorate to probe the truth behind Ramdev’s assets. Meanwhile, the Government is planning the valuation of licence and uplinking permission granted to Aastha Channel which is using the same to ask people to join Baba’s fast.

Official sources said such misuse of channel is against the licence and uplinking conditions signed by the broadcaster in question and the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting was free to look into the violation.

The charge of alleged money laundering by Baba Ramdev and his aides is also to be probed, as 21 of his ayurveda consignments were recently refused permission for import into the US. Despite refusals, the cost of the consignment was paid to the exporting party, official sources today revealed.

Two of the consignments which the US Food and Drug Administration office refused import permission were- Patanjali Ayurveda’s Amla Churan (rejected on January 21 this year) and Divya Pharmacy’s Shilajit Rasayan (an anti-impotency drug), rejected on January 6 on grounds of the product being unapproved. The controversial Acharya Balkrishna is the managing director of Patanjali Ayurveda.

When contacted by The Tribune today, Hiren Doshi, a former Aastha Channel executive, declined to talk saying he was busy with a wedding in the family. Jain did not answer his phone.





HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | E-mail |