Shimla: Possession of land given to Ramdev`s trust Patanjali Yogpeeth by the previous BJP regime was on Friday taken over by the Himachal authorities in a "swift but peaceful action", three days after the state government decided to cancel its lease.
A team of Soland district officials led by Additional District Magistrate (ADM), Solan, CP Verma, SDM, Kandaghat, LR Verma and SP, RC Chhasta reached Sadhupul, 50 kms from here, and informed the functionaries of the trust that the lease of the 28 acres of land, given to the yogpeeth in 2010, has been cancelled.
The officials took over the possession of the land and the structures on it and made inventory of all the articles and also sealed the premises, government sources said.
The police was deployed in strength but the operation was "swift, smooth and peaceful" as there was no resistance from the officials of the trust, they said.
The action came just five days ahead of Ramdev and his aide Acharya Balkrishan`s scheduled visit to Sadhupul for inaugurating the first phase of project of the yogpeeth on February 27.
"We cooperated with the government and handed over the possession to revenue officials and would agitate the matter in the court," Laxmi Dutt Sharma, state incharge of Bharatiya Swabhiman Trust, said.
He said, "The government had given the land to us by following proper procedure and the trust was not a commercial organisation but a public service organisation which has provided direct and indirect employment to hundreds of youths from about 40 villages in the neighbourhood."
The government had made it clear yesterday that there was no bar on entry of Ramdev into the state but he would not be allowed to inaugurate the first phase of the project as the land lease had been cancelled.
State Chief Secretary, S Roy had yesterday said, "There is no ban on Ramdev`s entry into any part of Himachal but he will not be allowed to inaugurate the first phase of Patanjali Yogpeeth at Sadhupul as the Cabinet has decided to cancel the land lease and the land no longer belongs to the trust."
Roy had said that there were number of "legal infirmities and irregularities" in respect of leased land and the project which was to be completed in two years was incomplete even after three years.
Further, the land was donated by erstwhile royal family of Patiala in 1956 for Indira Holiday Home for children and could not be given on lease to the trust and the power of attorney on behalf the trust was given to Acharya Balkrishan, whose nationality has been in dispute, he had said.
Laxmi Dutt Sharma said, "The land was given on 99 years lease in 2010 after following the due process and we are not at fault and the trust has already incurred an expenditure of Rs 7.50 crore on construction of buildings and developing other infrastructure.
"If there was any irregularity or illegality, the government should be responsible for it and not the trust," he said.