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Ramdev aides under ED scanner

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) is examining the circumstances in which the ownership of spiritual channel Aastha TV landed in the hands of Baba Ramdev's associates from its previous promoter Kirit Mehta. Rajesh Ahuja reports.

delhi Updated: Oct 04, 2011 23:23 IST
Rajesh Ahuja

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) is examining the circumstances in which the ownership of spiritual channel Aastha TV landed in the hands of Baba Ramdev's associates from its previous promoter Kirit Mehta.

The ED is probing whether the deal involving the change of ownership of the channel has violated any provision of the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) or the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

The ED has also sought financial details of the trusts and companies run by the associates of Baba Ramdev. Some unexplained transactions have come to light during the ED's initial probe so far. Besides the ED, the CBI is also probing a case against Ramdev's key aide Acharaya Balkrishna for allegedly misrepresenting facts to obtain a passport. "The ED would like to examine Kirit Mehta, but he doesn't stay in India anymore. The directorate has sought details of the companies involved in the deal from various government agencies. There are certain allegations which the ED wants to probe further," said a source. The probe agency also wants to know under what circumstances Kirit Mehta left India.

"The ED is free and has right to go for truthful investigation," said SK Tijarawala, the spokesperson for Baba Ramdev.

Aastha was owned by CMM Broadcasting Network Limited, a company managed by Mehta. But Mehta sold the channel to Vedic Broadcasting Ltd in late 2007 for R10 crore. Balkrishna holds 99.9% stake in it.