The Forest Department has reportedly decided to write to Urban Development Ministry in this regard and Asaram’s sprawling ashram in Karol Bagh is likley to be vacated soon. The ashram, located in Central Ridge is spread over an area of around 800 hectares and is partly under DDA, Forest Department and PWD’s control.

In order to take possession of the land in central ridge area, Asaram’s ashram placed an application way back in 2006, but was rejected by the Additional District Magistrate (South). The ashram however continued to remain operational. With the entire clamour around Asaram Bapu getting louder with every passing day, the Forest Department has now tightened its belt to deal with the issue in a strict manner.

Highly placed officials of Forest Department held a meeting in this regard on Friday and Urban Development Ministry has been urged to look into the matter.

“We have written a letter to Urban Development Ministry, wherein it has been urged to issue a notice and vacate Asaram Bapu’s ashram located at central ridge area. They don’t own this land, the letter has been drafted and it will be forward to the Ministry on Monday,” said GN Sinha, Chief of Delhi Forest Department.

Meanwhile, the North Delhi Municipality Corporation has sent a review notice to Asaram Bapu’s ashram and it has been learnt that the Ashram has not paid income tax since 2004-05. The officials also received complaint that a number of commercial activities are in operation from the ashram and upon inspection, the allegations were found true.

Under MCD Act 115, no income tax is levied on an individual or firm engaged in religious activities. However, the firm can’t indulge in selling or trading actiivities.

“Religious books, literature, Ayurvedic medicines, incense sticks are being sold in the ashram, which comes under the category of trading activities. Taking a note of this, the department has issued a notice to the Ashram,” said MSA Khan, Additional Commissioner, MCD North.

JPN/Bureau

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