Bihar's Mahabodhi temple gets income tax notice

Patna, Sep 24 : For the first time, the Income Tax department has issued notice to Bodh Gaya's Mahabodhi temple, Buddhism's holiest shrine, over its collections, officials Tuesday said.

"The IT department has issued notice to the management committee of the Mahabodhi temple and demanded that they submit details of temple's income and expenses," said an official of the Bodh Gaya Temple Management Committee(BMTC), governing panel of the temple.

According to BMTC officials, the IT department has issued notice to the temple for the first time after Bodh Gaya Temple Act of 1949 was framed 64 years ago.

BMTC member secretary N. Dorjee said the committee will discuss the IT notice at its meeting Tuesday.

"We will discuss it to submit our reply to the IT notice," he said.

The temple's income, mainly through donations of devotees across the world, was over Rs.6.29 crore in 2012-13.

The committee started an online donation facility to the temple in 2010.

The 1,500-year old Mahabodhi temple is a World Heritage Site where the Buddha, who was born at Lumbini in neighbouring Nepal, attained enlightenment around 2,500 years ago.

The Bodh Gaya temple is visited by millions of pilgrims annually from all over the world, especially from Sri Lanka, China, Japan and the Southeast Asian region.

The temple was rocked by a string of bombings in July this year. The National Investigation Agency is probing it.

In July this year, the Bihar government amended the Bodh Gaya Temple Act of 1949, allowing for a non-Hindu to head the temple committee. The BJP vehemently opposed the move.

--IANS (Posted on 24-09-2013)

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