Police briefly detain Indian corruption activist

Indian yoga guru Baba Ramdev climbs on the roof of a car to address his followers in New Delhi on Tuesday.

Story highlights

  • Baba Ramdev is released after short detention, police spokesman says
  • Police detained Ramdev during attempt to march on Indian parliament building Monday
  • Ramdev wants repatriation of illegal wealth held overseas and stronger corruption protections

Police briefly detained famed Indian yoga guru Baba Ramdev on Monday after he tried to lead an anti-corruption march toward the national parliament building, a police spokesman said.

"Remove Congress and save the country," the yoga guru said to thousands of supporters before officers took him into custody, referring to the ruling Congress Party.

The saffron-clad yoga teacher, whose televised breathing exercises are watched by millions, has been staging a demonstration since last week to demand repatriation of what he calls "black money," or illegal Indian wealth in foreign banks.

He also favors the creation of a strong anti-corruption watchdog agency to deal with endemic graft in the country, echoing a key demand raised by another veteran activist, Anna Hazare, whose hunger strikes last year galvanized huge public support.

Ramdev was released shortly after police took him into custody, New Delhi police spokesman Rajan Bhagat said Monday. An unspecified number of Ramdev's supporters who had been taken into custody also were released, Bhagat said.

Weak monsoon season impacts India crops

    Just Watched

    Weak monsoon season impacts India crops

Weak monsoon season impacts India crops 00:06
PLAY VIDEO
'World's biggest blackout' a wake-up call

    Just Watched

    'World's biggest blackout' a wake-up call

'World's biggest blackout' a wake-up call 03:13
PLAY VIDEO
What went wrong with India's power?

    Just Watched

    What went wrong with India's power?

What went wrong with India's power? 04:07
PLAY VIDEO
Bollywood legend Rajesh Khanna dies

    Just Watched

    Bollywood legend Rajesh Khanna dies

Bollywood legend Rajesh Khanna dies 01:46
PLAY VIDEO

There were no reports of disorder during Monday's demonstration, Bhagat said.

Unlike last year, there were no attempts this year by the Indian government, led by the Congress Party, to negotiate with Ramdev and Hazare.

Members of the party have in the past accused Ramdev of deceiving his followers and have questioned his wealthy lifestyle.

For the past year, India has seen a series of anti-corruption protests in the wake of high-profile scandals that have shaken investor confidence in Asia's third largest economy and rocked the government led by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

In June 2011, riot police broke up Ramdev's hunger strike in an overnight night raid in New Delhi. The crackdown gave fresh impetus to the nation's Hindu nationalist opposition to target the federal government over corruption issues.

Recently, Hazare launched a new hunger strike to add pressure to his persistent demands for a tough anti-corruption law.

Hazare and his supporters are also seeking special investigations into allegations of corruption they have made against more than a dozen of India's federal government ministers, including Singh. The government has denied the allegations.

The 75-year-old former army driver ended the strike abruptly as crowds waned. He then announced he would work to give a new "political alternative" to Indians.

Earlier this year, the Congress Party suffered electoral defeat in the key state of Uttar Pradesh in a result that was widely seen as a litmus test for Singh's government ahead of the 2014 national elections.

      CNN recommends

    • pkg clancy north korea nuclear dreams_00002004.jpg

      As "We are the World" plays, a video shows what looks like a nuclear attack on the U.S. Jim Clancy reports on a bizarre video from North Korea.
    • Photojournalist Alison Wright travelled the world to capture its many faces in her latest book, "Face to Face: Portraits of the Human Spirit."
    • pkg rivers uk football match fixing_00005026.jpg

      Europol claims 380 soccer matches, including top level ones, were fixed - as the scandal widens, CNN's Dan Rivers looks at how it's done.
    • No Eiffel Towers, Statues of Liberties, Mt. Rushmores, Taj Mahals, Aussie koalas or Chairman Maos.

      It's an essential part of any trip, an activity we all take part in. Yet almost none of us are any good at it. Souvenir buying is too often an obligatory slog.