Asaram's ashram on ridge has illegal constructions, NGT told

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Asaram Bapu
New Delhi, Aug 5: The ashram of controversial self-styled godman Asaram Bapu in the ecologically sensitive central ridge of the capital has a "large number" of illegal constructions, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) was today informed by a committee.

The Tribunal had constituted the committee comprising Additional Chief Conservator of Forest, NCT of Delhi, a representative of MoEF and representative of Ridge Management Board to inspect part of the central ridge area.

According to its report submitted before the tribunal, there were "large number" of unauthorised structures in the ashram. The committee which commissioned detailed survey of the premises found that there were temporary as well as permanent structures which did not exist in the map of 1996.

The total area is indicated as 4,312 sq yard along with the approach path of 350 ft approximately. The NGT had also asked the panel to comment on whether any construction was made recently.

The tribunal was hearing a petition filed by Sanjay Kumar. Petitioner's advocate Gaurav Bansal had told the bench that the 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 on ridge area declaring it as "reserved forest" in terms of the provisions of the Indian Forest Act.

The petitioner had said he learnt from a media report that the Asaram Ji Trust has constructed an illegal 'ashram' at Karol Bagh in Central Ridge. He had 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...." 72-year-old Asaram Bapu was arrested on rape charges in August last year and is in judicial custody.


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