Nepali authorities “bow” to illegal investment by an Indian guru
Baba Ramdev has invested 1.5 billion rupees (almost US$ 14 million) through an NGO she heads. Nepali laws establish tight controls on foreign funds, and the guru did not have the right permits. His popularity is being used to re-establish a Hindu confessional state.
Kathmandu (AsiaNews) – Famous Indian yoga guru Baba Ramdev has decided to make investments in Nepal that are considered illegal in the Himalayan country.
Through a non-profit association that he heads, the guru has raised 1.5 billion Nepalese rupees (almost US$ 14 million), and is willing to pay up to 5 billion rupees (US$ 45 million).
"Ramdev says that his investments are not making any profits, but in fact the money is used by the company to make a profit," said a government official on condition of anonymity.
For some political analysts, the guru’s ultimate goal is to use his popularity to put pressure on Nepali political leaders to reaffirm that Nepal is a Hindu country.
Under Nepali law, foreign direct investments by NGOs must be approved by the Department of Industry in accordance with Foreign Investment and Technology Transfer Act or the Investment Board Act.
The guru has never asked permission from the authorities to register the funds provided by the Patanjali Yogpeeth and Ayurvedi Company, one of the world’s foremost promoters of yoga techniques and ayurvedic medicine products in the world.
The only way for foreign money to enter the country legally was via donations from Samata Prasad, wife of Upendra Yadav, a Nepali political and non-resident member of the association.
Caught out, the guru was quick to issue a statement saying that "the company has not broken any law" and that the investments are by the two aforementioned Nepalis.
Swami Ramdev noted that "the company's profit will be spent on philanthropic activities", adding that he could never carry out illegal activities since he "devoted his life to fighting corruption, money forgery and misappropriation of resources. I am committed to financial transparency."
Recently, several party leaders, including current Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal (also known as Prachanda), visited Ramdev at his company’s new branch in Birgunj, southern Nepal, and encouraged him to invest in the country.
According to some experts, the guru is "trying to convince our leaders to restore Hinduism (as a state religion). Profits will be used to establish a new Hindu movement."
What is more, a source said that "when they went before the guru, the politicians bowed and promised to support Hinduism, if everyone agrees."