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17 Dec 2016

Ramdev sniffs a demonetisation 'scam'

TT, New Delhi, Dec. 16: Yoga televangelist Baba Ramdev has been quoted as saying the demonetisation has triggered a scam of "Rs 3-5 lakh crore" because of corrupt bankers, and that his association with the BJP is "a thing of the past".
"Bankers have made crores due to demonetisation. Even (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi could not have estimated the extent of corruption among them... a Rs 3-5 lakh crore scam will be exposed," Ramdev was quoted by The Quint, a news web portal, as saying.
Ramdev had so far been known as a proponent of the demonetisation and a supporter of Modi.
He had led an anti-corruption agitation during UPA rule and asked the then government to ban high-denomination currency notes. When Modi announced the demonetisation on November 8, the yoga practitioner had lauded the decision.
According to The Quint, Ramdev said the Prime Minister had been "misled by corrupt bankers" and that the demonetisation could have been implemented better.
"Modi was caught off guard by corrupt bankers. Cash supply isn't an issue, but cash going to the corrupt is. Note ban could have been implemented better," Ramdev is quoted as saying in Jaipur on Thursday.
"Even the RBI officials are under the scanner. That's very unfortunate. It raises serious doubts on our system," he added.
Asked about the perception that he was the "state priest" of the NDA government, the saffron-robed Ramdev was quoted as saying: " Jo hua ek ateet hai (Whatever happened is a thing of the past). A saint should treat everyone equally."
Ramdev's supporters had campaigned for Modi ahead of the 2014 general election, and the BJP is said to have fielded several candidates on the yoga televangelist's recommendation.
According to sources in the power corridors of Delhi, Ramdev could be upset with the demonetisation because of a drop in sales suffered by his company, Patanjali Ayurveda Ltd.
People associated with Ramdev refused to be quoted but said the yoga instructor had sensed the rising discontent among the poor against the demonetisation and feared it could hurt the economy and Patanjali's expansion plans.
The yoga practitioner's reported comments come ahead of elections in Uttar Pradesh, where he is believed to wield plenty of influence.
Ramdev had recently met chief minister Akhilesh Yadav and Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Lalu Prasad and praised both these Opposition politicians.

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