Asaram Bapu's ashram faces closure over non-payment of Rs 58-lakh taxes
The Ulhasnagar facility has failed to pay taxes amounting to Rs 58 lakh since 2004; unless the money is handed over in 21 days, civic officials will seal the premises
Legal woes for self-styled godman Asaram Bapu are far from over. After being imprisoned for sexually assaulting a 16-year-old, Jodhpur cops have begun to investigate claims of CDs featuring him and his female devotees at his ashram, which he allegedly used to blackmail them.
And officials from the Ulhasnagar Municipal Corporation (UMC) have added to his long list of troubles after sending his ashram in Khemani area of Ulhasnagar 2 a notice over non-payment of taxes. The Sant Shri Asaramji Ashram, spanning over 1,40,514 sq feet, has not paid its dues amounting to Rs 58 lakh to the civic body since it was built in 2004. The authorities have now decided that if the taxes aren’t paid within 21 days, they would seal the ashram.
“We sent several notices to the ashram to pay the dues but they have not replied as yet. The ashram owes Rs 58 lakh Rs 9 lakh as general tax, Rs 6 lakh as education cess, Rs 7 lakh as conservancy tax, Rs 1.5 lakh as road tax, Rs 40,000 as tree tax, Rs 4 lakh as water benefit tax, Rs 2 lakh as sewage tax, Rs 1.5 lakh as government education cess, Rs 7 lakh as big residential tax, Rs 20,000 for water, Rs 15,000 for demand notice fees, Rs 17 lakh as late payment and Rs 40,000 as fire brigade fees,” said an official from the UMC.
The official from the UMC added that workers and contractors had even sat on dharnas demanding for their dues but as the civic body had not received the funds, they could not clear the workers’ dues.
Officers also stated that being a religious organisation they didn’t think they would have to take such a tough stance but in the light of all the facts emerging and the balance of dues, they would take stringent action against the ashram, if required.
Santosh Deherkar, deputy commissioner, (Property) UMC said that strict action would be taken against the ashram if they failed to pay the dues. “This time we are just giving 21 days. If the ashram does not pay, we will seal it and also auction the property if required,” he said.