Seers up in arms over I-T notices, write to Sitharaman

The Akhil Bhartiya Sant Samiti is up in arms over the I-T notices served to saints and seers for money that they never received.

The Samiti has threatened an agitation if action was not taken against officials responsible for the notices.

The Akhil Bhartiya Sant Samiti is a joint platform of different akharas and mutts (monasteries) of Sanatan Hindu Dharma.

According to the Samiti, income tax department notices have reportedly been served to 13 akharas of Sanatan Dharma and all the major monasteries of Tirtharaj Prayagraj recently.

The Akhil Bhartiya Sant Samiti termed the notices as a conspiracy to defame Sanatan Hindu Dharma and humiliate Hindu Dharmacharyas.

The Samiti has written to union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman demanding action against the officials who served the notice.

Swami Jeetendranand Saraswati, general secretary, Akhil Bhartiya Sant Samiti, told reporters, “Certain work was done by the joint efforts of the state government and centre during Kumbh 2019, in Prayagraj, so that pilgrims may live there comfortably. At that time, the UP government had done some work in 13 akharas and major mutts to add facilities to ensure comfortable living to the pilgrims during their visit to the Kumbh. The Jal Nigam was the executing agency for this work and the UP government or centre provided the fund for it.”

He said that the akharas and seers had nothing to do with that fund. They did not get any funds for that work in their bank accounts.

He said that despite that, the income tax department served a notice to the 13 akharas and major mutts and seers for the fund which they never got.

Swami Jeetendranand Saraswati said that through the notice, the seers have been asked to be present in person and give a clarification.

“As an Indian citizen, it is our duty to give an account of the fund which we receive. But how can seers give an account of the fund which they never received?” he asked.

He claimed this was sheer ‘humiliation’ of the seers and a “conspiracy” to defame Sanatan Dharma and that there was anger in the seer community.

“The Samiti has written a letter to finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, demanding action against the officials concerned. If action is not taken against the officials who issued the notice, the seer community will take to the streets,” he said.