'Daswand' -- or the receiving of donations of one-tenth of a devotee's earning -- has landed self-styled spiritual guru 'Nirmal Baba' in trouble with a notice having been slapped on him for alleged Service Tax evasion of Rs 3.5 crore.
The Central Excise department issued the notice on the grounds that 'Daswand' amounts to charging devotees attending a 'Samagam' (congregation) an entry fee for a 'service', official sources said.
The activities of Nirmal Darbar came under the Excise department's scanner after July, 2012, when a negative list was brought in to cover more areas under 'service'.
A tax demand of about Rs 3.58 crore has been raised against Nirmal Baba since July, 2012, over the collection of Daswand, they said.
An email sent to 'Nirmal Darbar' seeking their comments did not yield any response. Phone calls made to them also failed to get any reaction.
"We do not have any person for (handling) the media. Please send us an email (at the address) mentioned on our website," an employee, who refused to identify herself, told PTI.
It is learnt that Nirmal Baba is contesting the tax demand raised by the Directorate General of Central Excise Intelligence (DGCEI).
DGCEI had also raised a Service Tax demand against Nirmal Darbar over the fee for 'Samagam' charged by Nirmal Baba.
A per head registration fee of Rs 3,000 (including taxes) is required to be paid for attending the Samagam while Rs 5,000 per person (including taxes) is the cost of attending the 'Show', according to information available on Nirmal Baba's website.
A demand for about Rs 3.08 crore as Service Tax liability was raised on Samagam which was paid along with an interest of Rs 80 lakh. Service Tax is levied at the rate of 12.36 per cent.