National Green Tribunal notice to govt, others for plea to demolish Asaram's ashram

A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Swatanter Kumar issued notices on the petition seeking demolition of the 'ashram' and initiation of criminal proceedings against the trustees of the Sant Shree Asharamji Trust. 

Notices were also issued to Ministry of Environment and Forests and Ministry of Urban Development, the Municipal Corporations and the Ridge Management Board.

The order came on a petition filed by one Sanjay Kumar. Petitioner's advocate Gaurav Bansal told the bench that Asaram's trust has illegally constructed an 'ashram' and other structures in the Central Ridge area here despite the notification issued by the Delhi government in May 1994, ridge area declaring it as "reserved forest" in terms of the provisions of the Indian Forest Act.

Self-styled godman Asaram Bapu

The petitioner said he recently learnt from a media report that the Asaram Ji Trust has constructed an illegal 'ashram' at Karol Bagh in Central Ridge. He said the media report stated that "eight years ago, the ministry of Urban Development had itself acknowledged that the trust did illegal encroachment on a large portion of land situated within central ridge...."

He said the authorities concerned even served an eviction notice to the Trust but in vain.

"There is strong apprehension in the minds of the general public that the Ridge Management Board has allowed the development of land against the procedure established by law...," the petition said.

72-year-old Asaram Bapu was arrested on rape charges in August and is in judicial custody.

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