Pune : In the first criminal case against Baba Ramdev in Maharashtra, a Pune-based final-year law student has filed a private complaint in the court of chief judicial magistrate first class in Junnar, alleging that the yoga guru “is cheating people by propagating Patanjali Ayurved’s drug coronil as a cure for coronavirus disease”.
The court on Wednesday directed the complainant, Madan Kurhe (25), to file copies of notices issued by the Union Ayush ministry to Ramdev.
Kurhe of Marathwada Mitra Mandal’s Law College filed the complaint against Ramdev and Patanjali Ayurved chairman Acharya Balkrishna under section 420 (cheating) 120(B) (criminal conspiracy), 270 (malignant act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life), 504 (intentional insult) and 34 (common intention) of the Indian Penal Code and relevant sections of the Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act, 1954.
According to his complaint, Kurhe saw an interview of Ramdev on various news channels on June 24, 2020, that Patanjali had invented a medicine that can cure coronavirus-related health problems. He stated in his complaint that during the pandemic “it is highly irresponsible, illegal on part of the accused and their company Patanjali to promote false hopes among people with the only objective of doing business”.
Kurhe told Mirror, “These medicines come in a corona kit priced at Rs 545, which was to be sold across India within a week. The Ay- ush ministry responded swiftly to the development, asking Patanjali to refrain from publicising or selling the medicines until proper verification. But this does not minimise the legal mistake committed by the accused but in fact this underlines the accusations as true and hence cognisance of this criminal complaint needs to be taken.”
Advocate Asim Sarode, who represented the complainant, told Mirror, “This is violation of the ministry’s directive issued in April 2020. The Ayush ministry, while giving nod for research for Covid-19 treatment using traditional medicine systems, had imposed several conditions. As per these conditions, it is mandatory for the institution to apprise the ministry about the research developments. However, it is clear that the ministry was kept in the dark about the whole process adopted by Patanjali and conducting a press conference by Ramdev and Balkrishna is clear violation of law. The press conference also shows that Ramdev considers himself above the law. The ministry has now asked Patanjali to immediately furnish all details regarding the drug.”
Sarode added, “This is also violation of the provisions of the Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act. The accused seems to have used their money and muscle power along with political influence at the Drug Licensing Authority of Uttarakhand to get licence issued to Patanjali for manufacture of the drug. This nothing but playing with the lives of the common people and it amounts to health rights violation.”