The story began a while back. Soon after Virbhadra Singh took over in December 2012, the Himachal Pradesh government cancelled a lease for Patanjali Food and Herbal Park Pvt Ltd. The 28-acre park, valued at Rs 35 crore, had been leased out for 99 years by the previous government for Re 1 per year. The cancellation was apparently due to the illegality of the deed.
The fallout was even more interesting: Patanjali stopped buying apple juice concentrate from HPMC. Apart from HPMC, only one company— based in Srinagar—sells the fruit juice concentrate in India. “We have checked with the Srinagar company. Baba Ramdev is neither buying the concentrate from them and nor from us. Since it’s not us, we’re wondering from whom the Baba is sourcing apple juice concentrate,” says HPMC vice chairman Prakash Thakur. Meanwhile, Patanjali’s spokespersons deny that the concentrate is being sourced from China, which is what a number of other fruit juice companies are doing.