New Delhi: Asaram Bapu's ashram in the national capital has been slapped with a notice by North Delhi Municipal Corporation for alleged non-payment of property tax since 2004, a top civic body official said today.
"Yoga Vedant Samiti, a three-acre ashram run by Asaram at Upper Ridge Road in Karol Bagh area was served notice on September 4 for non-payment of property tax," a senior NDMC official told PTI. He refused to disclose the amount due against the ashram.
During a situational survey of the ashram on September 2, the municipal officials had found commercial activities were being carried out there.
The ashram was found selling Asaram's books, publications, ayurvedic medicines, dhoop, incense and other religious materials.
"Under the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act, religious places are exempted from payment of property tax and no commercial activities could be carried out on such land. But, in this case, ashram was found indulged in carrying out commercial activities," NDMC public relations officer Yogendra Singh Mann said.
Explaining the provision for municipal property tax, Mann said, "MCD as part of a self-assessment system gives June 30 as the the last date to file the returns".
If found guilty in such violations, MCD can attach properties, raise demands and ultimately attaches bank accounts.
The penalties include payment of due property tax, 30 per cent additional over the taxable amount and interest over them, the officials said.
The 72-year-old self-styled godman, accused of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl at his ashram in Jodhpur, also owns properties under South Delhi Municipal Corporation jurisdiction.
"Asaram has three properties in Delhi -- a 15-20 acre ashram at Rajokri, another is near Rajouri, as well as one in Dwarka Sector 22-23 area," SDMC public relation officer Mukesh Yadav said.
Asaram is currently in judicial custody in a Jodhpur jail.