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HindustanTimes Thu,31 Jul 2014

'Illegal' Asaram ashrams in Delhi face eviction

Darpan Singh, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, September 08, 2013
First Published: 00:48 IST(8/9/2013) | Last Updated: 02:07 IST(8/9/2013)

The Delhi forest department is likely to ask the Centre on Monday to get Asaram’s ‘illegal’ ashram at Karol Bagh, in central ridge, vacated.

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The department is also verifying the existence of another of his ashram being run in Rajokari forests in southern ridge.

The ashram in Karol Bagh is spread over 18,000 sqft and has a single-lane road all to itself.

The step comes a day after HT revealed that Asaram’s ashram on Upper Ridge road had not paid property tax in the past 10 years.

Forest dept head GN Sinha said, “The letter is ready. We will dispatch it to the urban development ministry on Monday. The ashram needs to be vacated and land transferred to us.” 

Forest officials said the Supreme Court had allowed the Karol Bagh ashram to operate, but the relief was subject to adherence to legal procedures.

“A forest settlement officer rejected the plea to regularise the ashram in 2009. The ashram should have then approached an appellate authority, which it never did, rendering itself illegal,” said deputy conservator of forests (south) Nisheeth Saxena.    

Asked why such an action was not taken much earlier, Saxena said, “We had written to the UD ministry in 2011 and 2012 as well.”

A petition had sought demolition of the ashram in 1985 but in 1996 the Apex court allowed the ashram to run subject to approval of settlement authorities.


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