HP govt cancels land deal with Ramdev

In a blow to Baba Ramdev's plans to set up multi-crore Patanjali Yogpeeth campus on 96 bigha prime land in Solan district, the Congress-led Himachal government Tuesday cancelled the lease sanctioned by the previous BJP government on a token annual fee of Re 1 to the yoga guru's trust.

The cabinet termed the decision of the previous BJP government as an undue favour to Ramdev, beside being illegal.

The decision comes in the wake of Ramdev's plans to hold a yoga camp later this month at the site, where construction has already started.

The land initially belonged to erstwhile Maharaja of Patiala, who had donated it to a trust — Indira Holiday Home —for organising camps for children. The land, along with the existing structures, was estimated to be worth several crores. It was transferred to Ramdev's trust for only Rs 17 lakh, besides a Re 1 token fee per annum.

"It was an illegal action on part of the BJP government. A probe by the government has found land cannot be transferred for commercial purpose. Moreover, the lease was signed in name of Archarya Balkrishan, who is facing a CBI inquiry, as he is allegedly a Nepali national," said Revenue Minister Kaul Singh Thakur.

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