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CBI Makes Discreet Inquiries About Ramdev Trusts' Funding Sources

New Delhi, Jun 27: In a bid to find evidence of any ‘wrong-doings' in the yoga guru-cum-anti-corruption crusader Baba Ramdev's estimated Rs 1,100 crore, a team of CBI officials are making discreet enquiries to track

PTI [ Updated: June 27, 2011 22:34 IST ]
cbi makes discreet inquiries about ramdev trusts funding
cbi makes discreet inquiries about ramdev trusts funding sources

New Delhi, Jun 27: In a bid to find evidence of any ‘wrong-doings' in the yoga guru-cum-anti-corruption crusader Baba Ramdev's estimated Rs 1,100 crore, a team of CBI officials are making discreet enquiries to track down his former employees and workers who were earlier either sacked or forced to leave his companies and factories at Haridwar, the Mumbai newspaper DNA reported.


According to sources, the agency had learnt that last year around 40 employees were sacked by Ramdev's companies located in Haridwar.
 
However, this is not the first time when Ramdev's companies and factories had faced problems with respect to workers. In 2006, around 400 workers were thrown out from Ramdev ‘s Divya Yoga Pharmacy.
 
This had caused huge ruckus as the Left Front parties took up the cudgels on their behalf.

The agency feels that the statements of these employees will give vital ‘inputs' in gaining ‘inside' knowledge of Ramdev ‘s business empire.
However, the agency is not only depending on these employees to collect evidences but is also scanning income tax records of Ramdev and his close aides such as Balakrishna, their companies and trusts.
 
It is scrutinising these documents to find out whether there are any discrepancies in his declared income/assets.

The agency is also focused on identifying the foreign donors, their backgrounds and associations. All his company shareholders are under the scanner, and the list of his foreign properties/assets is being complied.

Initial investigation had revealed that Ramdev formed around 30 companies in the last two years, in which Balakrishna had been appointed as director. Around 23 of these companies, most of them manufacturing ayurvedic medicines, were set up in 2009.
 
For example, in two of the companies, Aarogya Herbs (India) Private Limited and Patanjali Biscuits Pvt Limited, Balakrishna had become director on January 5 and 12, 2009 respectively.

Meanwhile, the Enforcement Directorate has begun a discreet probe into the offshore assets and investments made by yoga guru Ramdev and institutions affiliated to him.

The ED is probing whether Ramdev's investments and transactions were carried out flouting foreign exchange laws, sources in the Directorate said.

On the scanner of the agency is an island in Scotland which was gifted to Ramdev by a couple who is among his ardent followers.

The Little Cumbrae Island, off the fishing town of Largs in Scotland, serves as Ramdev's base overseas and also as a wellness centre.

The probe, according to the sources, is aimed at checking the flow of money and transactions through various trusts floated by Ramdev including the Patanjali Yogpeeth Trust, Divya Yoga Mandir Trust and Bharat Swabhiman Trust.

The Directorate, after completing the probe, may decide to formally register a case under the provisions of the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) or the stringent Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), if findings show anything unlawful, they said.

The discreet probe, also called ‘source' probe by investigators, is done on the basis of available documents and intelligence information from various official databases.

In a related development, the CBI today registered a preliminary enquiry (PE) against Balakrishna, a close aide of Ramdev, for allegedly using forged documents to acquire passport. PTI

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