Tax notice slapped on Ramdev's trusts

Yoga guru Ramdev's trusts have lost their exemption from payment of income tax and have been slapped a notice of Rs 58 crore demand on the sale of their ayurvedic medicines.

The I-T notice, for the assessment year 2009-10, on Haridwar-based Patanjali Yogpeeth Trust, Divya Yoga Mandir Trust and Bharat Swabhiman Trust have been slapped on the income of Rs 120 crore which the department has held as 'commercial activities', sources said.

Ramdev, who is leading a campaign against black money in the country, heads an organisation that runs the trusts which manages the manufacture and sale of ayurvedic medicines in India and abroad.

His trusts have been enjoying tax exemption under the provisions relating to charitable organisations for the last few years.

The I-T department, which conducted a 'special audit' of all the businesses related to Ramdev has found that the sale of these medicines and other ayurvedic concoctions are a commercial venture and they should not be enjoying any tax exemption, the sources said.

Repeated attempts to obtain a response from Ramdev's spokesperson S K Tijarawala failed.

Sources said the I-T assessment will strengthen another probe into alleged foreign exchange violations against Ramdev's trusts being conducted by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).

The I-T department has conducted the audit after getting the financial documents of investments and transactions from various banks in the country which operate the accounts of Ramdev's trusts

Sources said another regular audit of the income of his trusts and collection of tax deducted at source (TDS) is underway.

The ED, meanwhile, has detected a Rs seven crore alleged contravention under the Foreign Exchange Management Act ( FEMA) in the remittances made by Ramdev's trusts and it is currently scrutinising documents in this regard.

Ramdev had last year declared his business empire to be worth more than Rs 1,100 crore. The capital involving the four trusts run by him totalled Rs 426.19 crore while the expenditure incurred on them amounted to Rs 751.02 crore.
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