The Bombay High Court has asked the Maharashtra government if several hundred acres of land in Nagpur was allotted at a throwaway price to yoga expert Baba Ramdev’s consumer goods company Patanjali Ayurveda Ltd. If so, the court said today, the state government must explain why the company was given the concession.
The Congress’ Mumbai chief Sanjay Nirupam has alleged in court that Baba Ramdev’s company has been given the land to set up a food park for only 25 lakh an acre though the market value is about one crore for an acre, causing a big loss for the exchequer.
Congress leaders in the state have alleged that the BJP-led state government of Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis acquired the land from farmers and gave it at a concessional rate to Patanjali in return for the popular yoga guru’s support and campaign for the party in the 2014 national election.
Asking the state government to respond within six weeks, the judges said today, “We want to only know on what grounds concession, if any, was given to the company. We want to know if land was given at a throwaway price.”
The court has also asked the state government whether any farmer’s land was taken away to make the allotment and has asked to see the proposal submitted by the company to the government for the project.
Patanjali has said it plans to develop a Rs. 5,000-crore food park at the Multi-model International Cargo Hub and Airport, Nagpur (MIHAN), packaging juices made from the city’s famous oranges, among other things.
Baba Ramdev had launched the mega food park last year, promising to employ 5,000 people and engage 2,000 farmers of the region. Union Minister Nitin Gadkari and Mr Fadnavis were present at the launch.
The Chief Minister earlier dismissed the Congress’ allegation that Patanjali was given a massive concession and that it was favoured over other companies in allotting the land. Mr Fadnavis had said that tenders were floated thrice and Patanjali Ayurveda was picked according to central vigilance commission norms.
Sanjay Nirupam has, in his petition, requested the court to restrain Patanjali Ayurveda from using the land till the court has given a final order on it.