Under fire following charges of raping a minor, Asaram Bapu is now on the Lucknow Municipal Corporation’s (LMC) radar over alleged evasion of house tax.
After the godman was jailed, the LMC, all of a sudden, decided to measure his ashram, situated behind the 32-battalion PAC office, spread in more than 18 bigha of land under Krishna Nagar police station.
The land record department of the corporation has started studying records of the ashram. The officials of the municipal corporation say there are reports that the ashram is used for commercial activities instead of religious purpose.
Naming anything an ashram cannot bring in a tax rebate from the corporation, they reason.
A place where publications, prayer material, ayruvedic and naturopathic medicines among other things are sold can’t be spared from taxes, said an official.
Under the LMC act, religious places are exempted from property tax provided no commercial activities are carried out from their premises.
LMC officials say they have evidence that the ashram is being used to host guests, sell books etc and thus would have to pay the tax.
Besides, the ashram officials would be served notice and asked to explain why it should be exempted from tax despite its commercial activities.
Additional municipal commissioner PK Srivastava said, “The ashram covers a big chunk of land. Till now, it was not paying tax but we can’t turn our eyes away from the commercial activity going on there.”
Zonal officer V Suraj Singh said, “Yes, the land records of the area are under the scanner of the corporation. This is being done to check if the land occupation is legal or not.”