The book, on the meteoric rise of Baba Ramdev as a business tycoon from a yoga icon, by senior journalist Priyanka Pathak-Narain has been served an injunction notice by a Delhi court.
The order by East Delhi District and Sessions Court Judge Nipun Awasthi, restrains the publisher Juggernaut Books, the author, and also the printer, Amazon and Flipkart, from selling the book.
Juggernaut books, the publisher of Godman to Tycoon: The Untold Story of Baba Ramdev, received a notice to this effect on Thursday and said that they will move court to vacate the stay.
The publisher says that the order by the district court was passed ex-parte, which means the publisher or the author were not heard by the court.
“This order was passed ex-parte without hearing either the publisher, Juggernaut Books, or the author of the book, Priyanka Pathak-Narain, in order to avoid 'the delay which would be caused during the process of serving the notice and hearing the defendants',” the publisher said in a statement.
A part of the court order reads, “The facts recorded in the said books are false and the facts tends to injure the reputation of the plaintiff (Ramdev) by exposing him to public contempt because these facts lead to the inference that the plaintiff had been involved in mischievous and criminal activities to achieve fame and success.”
Another extract reads, “The plaintiff has not been implicated in any criminal case. He is not subject to any investigation for any offence but despite this, the author’s only objective behind this book appears to be, to malign the public image of Baba Ramdev.”
The publisher argues that although every person has a right to approach a court of law, it should be decided in a fair manner, maintaining that the book was a work of serious journalism and they would counter the injunction.
“In this case, the allegation of defamation must certainly be heard in the courts and we welcome the chance to defend our book. Godman to Tycoon is a work of serious journalism. It is the product of over fifty interviews, many of them taped, with key players in Baba Ramdev's life, including with Ramdev himself and close aides and family members,” the statement added.
Juggernaut also said the taped interviews were verified by a forensic laboratory.
“As the matter is sub judice, we cannot comment on the merits of the case. However, we stand by our book, will defend the case and will move the court to vacate the injunction,” the publisher said.
Baba Ramdev, who came into the limelight as a television yoga teacher in the early 2000s, has gone on to be highly successful in India’s competitive FMCG and food/beverage industry with his Patanjali brand.
Multiple media reports have claimed that favourable land deals from various state governments are partly responsible for the swift rise of the company.