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Denied US visa, initially
Yoga guru Baba Ramdev, who heads the Rs 4,500-crore Patanjali Group, was once denied a visa to the US citing his bachelor status and not having a bank account. But later it invited him and gave a 10-year visa when he was to address the UN, which is headquartered in New York, the yoga guru said.
“When for the first time I applied for a US visa, I was denied. I asked for reasons, they said Ba baji you don't have a bank account, which I still don't have, and you are unmarried,“ he said. He, however, did not indicate the year in which he had applied. “But when they had to call me for the UN programme, they on their own gave me a 10year visa,“ he said. “This is a separate matter“.
2018: challenging Adani Group and Wilmar International
It's a season of setbacks for Ramdev
The lenders of the bankrupt Ruchi Soya, the maker of Nutrela and Sunrich edible oil, have approved the Rs 6,000 crore bid by Adani Wilmar, a joint venture between Adani Group and Singapore-based Wilmar International.
Ramdev-led Patanjali Ayurved has approached the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) challenging the decision.
Adani Wilmar and Patanjali Ayurved were locked in a Swiss Challenge auction battle as the creditors were seeking to recover at least a part of Rs 12,000 crore the company owed them.
After making a bid of Rs 5,700 crore, Patanjali decided not to better Adani's bid.
This follows Patanjali's sluggish growth in sales. After recording over 100 per cent sales growth in its early years, the company had its slowest sales growth of just over 13 per cent in the last financial year.
Ramdev and Co. had setbacks elsewhere too. The company has struggled to follow through on its grand plans to launch a chat app called Kimbho to take on the "foreign companies" (read WhatsApp). The app was withdrawn from Google Play just a day after the launch.
The company had called the withdrawal a "foreign conspiracy".
It later re-launched the app; but in another setback, the "brain behind Kimbho" left the company and launched a rival app called Bolo Messenger with the same "swadeshi" pitch. Till date Bolo Messenger has twice the number of downloads as Kimbho - though Kimbho's official launch is on August 27.
For making Patanjali Ayurveda the country's fastest growing FMCG company posting a turnover of Rs 5,000 crore for 2015-16
In April this year, the baba had the nation in awe when he announced a Rs 5,000-crore turnover for his Patanjali Ayurveda, vowing to double it the next year. With over three lakh franchise outlets across the country, Patanjali products are set to take over the market-from supermarkets to neighbourhood general stores. With an advertising budget of over Rs 500 crore, and with his own ebullient personality-he's judged dance shows on TV, showed off his yoga moves on stage with a Bollywood actor, even applied a Patanjali cream on Lalu Prasad Yadav-Ramdev dominated the headlines throughout the year. Sometimes, of course, he also did it for the wrong reasons. In April, referring to Muslims who refuse to chant 'Bharat Mata ki Jai', he said if the country didn't have laws, he would have beheaded them. Amid nationwide criticism, the yoga guru later retracted his statement.
Beyond yoga and business, this was also the year Ramdev showed off his political clout. With a supposed hot line to PM Narendra Modi, he is a much-loved figure in all BJP-ruled states. And when on November 8, Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared currencies of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 invalid, Ramdev considered it a personal victory, having been advocating this step since 2010 as a measure to counter black money. A month on, though, he sounded a lot more cautious, saying that Modi should have implemented the move with better preparation.