Out of the blue
Sir ' It will be an amusing anticlimax if, after all the brouhaha surrounding Rang De Basanti, the film bombs at the box office. But the controversy, in the first place, was caused by the Indian Air Force's unwarranted coyness about its mainstay, the MiG 21. While the IAF tries in vain to showcase the MiG, the Pakistani Air Force has reportedly remarked that in the event of a hot war with India, the PAF's fighters will hardly be required to engage the IAF, because the MiG 21s will fall out of the sky by themselves!
J.K. Dutt, Calcutta
Sir ' The controversy whipped up around the letter served by the income tax department to Amitabh Bachchan seems quite unnecessary ('Bachchan tax claim contested', Jan 10). The income tax department was merely doing its job and there is nothing unethical about it. And it is high time that Amar Singh learnt the virtues of reticence.The 'causes' that he chooses to espouse clearly show that his sole aim is to hog media attention.
N.S. Dua, Calcutta
Sir ' It has become a habit with the Samajwadi Party to accuse the income tax department of working under pressure of the Union government to issue notices to Amitabh Bachchan. A fresh notice to Bachchan enquiring about his status as an anchor is justified because the mega-star regained popularity and wealth only after his appearance as an anchor in the famous Kaun Banega Crorepati show. Exemption under section 80RR of the Income Tax Act is for actors and not for anchors, that too for performances given outside the country. The Central Board of Direct Taxes should do away with various income tax exemptions because these are either misused or lead to corrupt practices.
Madhu Agrawal, Dariba, Delhi
Sir ' The government should have honoured Amitabh Bachchan for paying taxes honestly and being one of the highest income tax payers in Bollywood. If such an individual is harassed and questioned, then the ordinary person will think twice before filing his returns. Besides, he has lent his services to the polio vaccination campaign ' a service for which, I am sure, he has not charged anything. Such acts of charity should also earn him favourable points.
M. Kumar, New Delhi
Sir ' Why is Amitabh Bachchan being made a pawn in the game played between the Congress and the Samajwadi Party ' or, more precisely, between 10 Janpath and Amar Singh' True, the Bachchans and the Gandhis fell out with each other, but it is just as true that Amar Singh has used this rift politically. The question is, why did Bachchan allow this to happen'
S. Datta, Calcutta
Sir ' Recently, most newspapers carried an advertisement of the Indian Railways, with the caption, 'billion dollar smile'. The advertisement was very apt if one ignored the accompanying photograph of Lalu Prasad. Although he is the minister for railways, Lalu Prasad hardly finds time to visit the Rail Bhavan, what with his political commitments in Patna, where, till recently, he was the de facto chief minister. The railways portfolio seems always to be allocated in such a manner that the minister in charge is busy with everything else but the ministry. This is good in a way, since the bureaucrats and the railway board can get their ideas implemented without political intervention. They, and not the minister, are behind the 'billion-dollar smile'.
A.S. Mehta, Calcutta