KATHMANDU: Two television channels belonging to the Patanjali group of yoga guru Ramdev have been given a clean chit by a Nepal government probe team after it found no infrastructure was installed by them in Kathmandu violating the local laws.
Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba and Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist Centre chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal 'Prachanda' jointly launched the two TV channels - Aastha Nepal TV and Patanjali Nepal TV - in the presence of Ramdev and his close aide Acharya Balkrishna last week.
The launching of the two channels sparked controversy as the Nepali law does not permit any foreign investment in the media sector.
Director-General of Nepal's Department of Information and Broadcasting Gogan Bahadur Hamal had said that two television channels have never applied for registration and authorities will take action if it is found that these channels have built infrastructures to broadcast the television programmes without fulfilling any legal formalities and even having registered.
"We found that they have not actually launched the television channels and not even registered the channels in our department," Hamal told PTI over phone on Thursday, November 25, 2021.
The Patanjali Group just symbolically launched the television channels and it was also found that no equipment was brought here for operating the channels, he said.
"If the group had installed the equipment and started running the television channels, we would have taken action against them under the law," he said.
"Nepali law does not allow foreign investment in the media sector.
If the group wanted to launch a television channel in Nepal, it should be a Nepali investment and the company should be properly registered in Nepal," he pointed out.
"If they come with fulfilling all necessary criteria, we would definitely grant them permission to run the channel in Nepal," he added.
Earlier, the Patanjali Yogpeeth Nepal had said in a statement that it has already gone through a verification process for the television channels from the Company Registrar's Office and the process has been initiated for further permission from the bodies concerned for operating the television channels.
"We have not actually broadcast the television channels, we have only made technical preparation for the same.
We have only inaugurated the television broadcasting office building, it said.
It said the television channels - aimed at broadcasting programmes relating to yoga, Ayurvedic education, culture, literature and spiritual philosophy - will start operating only after the due processes.