His real age is not known to anyone but he changed his name at least 15 times. His biodata describes him as a person who loves music, dramatics and science fiction. He has trained more than 80,000 people in yoga. According to his own claim, he has delivered 1,000 lectures in 320 national, international seminars on Yoga. He was also the master of ceremonies on the first International Yoga Day on June 21, 2015, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi had quipped that Rajpath had turned into Yogapath.
He has taught yoga for 28 years now, but he began his career as a part-time yoga instructor in Karnataka University, Dharwad, and has ended up becoming the lifetime director of the premier institute of yoga in India, Morarji Desai National Institute of Yoga (MDNIY). As many as 200 complaints have been sent against him to various ministers in the Modi government, yet nothing seems to have touched him.
He is Ishwar V Basavaraddi, the director of (MDNIY) which comes under the Ministry of AYUSH.
Established in 1998 with the purpose of promoting yoga across the country, the institute has become “Bhrashtachar ka adda” (hotbed of corruption) under Basavaraddi, alleged Ajay Pal, a Yoga teacher turned whistle-blower. Pal had recently filed a PIL in Delhi High Court demanding action against Basavaraddi.
Pal, who worked as an assistant professor of Yoga with MDNIY for over five years, said Basavaraddi not only promoted corruption and favoritism in the institute but he bagged the post of the director using corrupt means also.
Basavaraddi, who is considered to be close to AYUSH Minister Shripad Naik used fake degrees and educational certificates at the time of his appointment, claimed Pal.
A copy of his degrees and the RTI reply which substantiates the claims is in the possession of National Herald. According to information obtained through an RTI query, Basavaraddi’s service book is also missing from the records.
According to Pal, AYUSH ministry not only violated its own norms while appointing Basavaraddi, but has also overlooked complaints against the him several times. Basavaraddi has been accused of “putting the reputation of the institution into jeopardy” in a complaint that was sent directly to the PMO in April 2018
“The AYUSH minister knows about all of this, but nothing has been done,” alleged Pal, adding that many complaints were sent directly to the PM but to no effect.
Initially, Basavaraddi was appointed director for three years—from 2005 to 2008—but he managed to get an extension and now ultimately a life-time directorship. Moreover, verification of his educational certificates has not been done by the AYUSH ministry, despite him holding the post for over 12 years.
“No verification of educational certificates, testimonials, character, and antecedents has been done out to date by the Ministry of AYUSH against the appointment of IV Basavaraddi which is mandatory for any appointment of the Govt of India. The same was also not available for his appointments at Karnataka University,” reads the letter that Pal had sent to the PM in 2018.
Citing an example of educational fraud committed by Basavaraddi, Pal claimed that Basavaraddi got himself enrolled for Ph.D on August 5, 1995, but he completed his Master’s Degree in Philosophy in June 1996.“How can a person enrolled or register himself for Ph.D Degree 10 months before completing his Master’s Degree?” asked Pal.
Basavaraddi, who is considered to be close to then AYUSH Minister Shripad Naik, had used fake degrees and educational certificates at the time of his appointment, claimed Pal
Documents show Ministry of AYUSH has blatantly violated its own rule while extending Basavaraddi’s term. According to the rules established by the Ministry, no head of a national institute can continue his service in the same institute for more than five years, but in the case of Basavaraddi, the Ministry seems to have overlooked the rule. When asked why he has not been transferred, AYUSH ministry maintained a studied silence.
Calling it “a case of serious collusion and malpractice in the Ministry of AYUSH with the violation of CCS rule” Pal demanded action against Basavaraddi.
Another journalist turned-yoga teacher who completed his course from the premier yoga institute told National Herald on the condition of anonymity that many cases related to financial irregularities are pending with the Central Vigilance Commission against Basavaraddi. This also seems to have been ignored.
The yoga teacher alleged that in an interview held in 2017 for the post of Assistant Professors, female candidates were asked to perform reverse body postures in front of the selection committee which was headed by Basavaraddi while, against the rules, no female member was present in the selection committee. National Herald called Basavaraddi for his response, but he said that he was busy in a class. Our repeated calls thereafter went unanswered.
Note: This report was first published on 21 June 2918 and is being republished on 6th International Yoga Day.