The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Sushmita ticked off, told to pay tax on car

Mumbai, Oct. 20: Bombay High Court today rebuked actress Sushmita Sen for demanding “baseless (tax) concessions” and asked her to pay up the octroi on her imported car.

Sen must not only hand the Rs 2.16 lakh to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation within three weeks; she has been left at the civic body’s mercy over the Rs 23.86-lakh penalty imposed for evasion.

The court has told the BMC to give Sushmita a hearing and decide if she should be made to shell out the penalty. The actress has been asked to deposit Rs 10 lakh as bank guarantee to the civic body.

Sushmita had filed a petition challenging a notice the BMC sent to her in August demanding Rs 2,16,998 in octroi on her Toyota Land Cruiser as well as the penalty amount. She shot off a letter to civic commissioner Johny Joseph saying she was willing to pay the octroi but not the fine.

Last month, she had told The Telegraph, “I acquired the Land Cruiser from a well-known car dealer under a lease agreement in 2005. The car was in someone else’s name at the time and the octroi should have been paid by him. But we were not aware that it hadn’t been. We were cheated.”

The BMC stood firm, prompting the actress to move the high court.

During the hearing, the civic body argued it could have impounded the car since the actress had filed false affidavits undervaluing it, but had chosen not to do so.

The sports utility vehicle had been imported in the name of an NRI, Vasu Tamani. Its date of manufacture was given as 1998 instead of the correct 2003, and its value was shown at Rs 14 lakh, BMC officials say. The directorate of revenue intelligence (DRI) has valued the car at Rs 41 lakh.

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