The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Salman pays, Ash objects
- Bollywood bad boy is a good taxpayer

Mumbai, Nov. 15: Sunil Gavaskar played it with a straight bat and Shah Rukh Khan was a byword for professionalism.

But Salman Khan and his once-girlfriend Aishwarya Rai failed to live up to their public images when the taxman came calling.

Bollywood “brat” Salman is among only six celebrities who quickly complied when asked to send the documents of their contracts and agreements and pay 0.25 per cent stamp duty on them.

Aishwarya, among 29 others sent the “star tax” notice, has been holding out and raising objections.

The collector of stamps’ enforcement wing had on August 13 reminded 35 celebs to pay the “star tax” introduced by the Maharashtra government on contracts signed since May 7, 2005.

Salman paid Rs 79,300. Among the others who complied without fuss are SRK (Rs 7,75,686), Rani Mukherji (Rs 3,08,940), Gavaskar (Rs 33,750) and Akshay Kumar (Rs 1,42,930). Even Sushmita Sen, who went to court over a Rs 2.16-lakh octroi on her Toyota Land Cruiser, paid up her dues of Rs 1,21,365.

Aishwarya wrote back arguing it’s the companies that hired her who should be taxed. The department has asked her to send the documents. “If the contracts specify that the tax liability rests with the brand and not the brand ambassador, we can ask the companies to pay. If they don’t, the celeb has to pay,” an official said.

Paresh Rawal, Naseeruddin Shah, Feroze Khan, Hrithik Roshan and Sachin Tendulkar have sent their contracts and agreements. The rest have ignored the notice despite a reminder on September 22. Another reminder will be on its way soon.

The line-up of the errant stars includes Amitabh and Abhishek Bachchan, Suniel Shetty, Aamir Khan, John Abraham, Saif Ali Khan, Ajay Devgan, Fardeen Khan, Akshaye Khanna and Sanjay Dutt. The ladies’ list features Juhi Chawla, Preity Zinta, Priyanka Chopra, Kareena and Karisma Kapoor, Kajol, Malaika Arora, Lara Dutta, Mandira Bedi and Diya Mirza.

Former cricketer Ravi Shastri and pacer Zaheer Khan, too, were notified.

Last week, a second batch of notices was sent to nine producers.

“Rakesh Roshan’s chartered accountant promised to hand in all documents by the first week of December. Yash Chopra’s office, too, contacted us. We’re waiting to hear from the rest,” an official said.

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