Shimla, March 18 (IANS) Former Himachal Pradesh chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal Monday defended the decision of his previous BJP government to allot land to yoga guru Baba Ramdev’s Patanjali Yogpeeth Trust and denied any wrongdoing.
He asked the government to order a probe to find out if any rule was violated in the allotment procedure.
“The government is free to conduct any inquiry if any rule or law was violated,” said the Bharatiya Janata party (BJP) leader, while initiating the debate on the state budget in the assembly.
The Congress-led government Feb 22 took back from Ramdev the possession of the 96.5 bighas of land near Sadhupul in Solan district after cancelling the land lease.
The government said the land, valued around Rs.35-40 crore, was allotted to the yoga guru’s Patanjali Yogpeeth Trust for a one-time lease payment of Rs.17 lakh for 99 years at a token annual fee of Re.1.
It said the previous government in 2010 violated statutory provisions in allotting the land to Baba Ramdev.
Condemning the cancellation of land lease, Dhumal said it was not in the interest of the state.
“It was in the interest of the farmers as the yoga guru had assured that 15 types of herbs and shrubs produced by them would be procured for manufacturing medicines,” he said.