Ever since Swami Ramdev burst into the spotlight some years ago with his brand of instant yoga, his closest aide Acharya Balkrishna has also remained in media glare. But surprisingly, nothing much is known about the 39-year-old and his past life.
Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh accuses him of being a Nepali who was involved in criminal activities in Nepal and procured an Indian passport illegally. Balkrishna denounces involvement in any illegal activity and claims he was born to Nepali parents in India.
The eldest of six sons of Jai Ballabh Subedi (77) and his wife Sumitra of remote Bharuwa village in Syangja district of western Nepal, Balkrishna was born in Haridwar in 1972. When he was three months old, his parents came back to Nepal.
He returned to India at the age of 11 for studies and decided to stay back. “I went to meet him eight years later after learning that he was studying in Delhi,” says Jai Ballabh. His parents claim they had no contact with Balkrishna for the next 17 years.
During that period, he metamorphosed into a scholar of Sanskrit, Ayurveda and Yoga. Some accounts say he met Ramdev at a 'gurukul' in Haryana others say both had a chance mee ting in the Gangotri caves. These days the duo controls Patanjali Yog Peeth and Divya Yog Mandir, two trusts that have turnover worth thousands of crores.
While Ramdev is the public face of both trusts, Balkrishna is the person who controls their everyday functioning. Two years ago he returned to Syangja to lay the foundation stone of a Patanjali Yog Peeth branch and Ayurvedic Bhawan built at a cost of NRs 2.5 crore.
He was also there for the inauguration ceremony held 11 months later. Jai Ballabh and Sumitra have not met or talked to him since that brief encounter. The couple had urged him to marry and settle down, but Balkrishna reportedly refused since he wanted to serve others.
His disappearance from Delhi and subsequent resurfacing in Haridwar or allegations of criminal activities may be making headlines in India, but his parents had no clue till some local journalists met them to take their reactions. They refuted allegations of Balkrishna’s criminal past.
District officials at Syangja maintain there is no record of him having applied for a passport.