HC proposes to initiate action against Sushmita

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Mumbai, Oct 11, (UNI) The Bombay High Court today proposed to initiate action against Bollywood star and former beauty queen Sushmita Sen, in the suspected matter of importing a Toyota Landcruiser.

''Whatever status and stature of a person, nobody is above the law, law must take its due course and deal with the erring and defaulting persons'', the court observed.

But, before directing the authorities concerned to initiate action against the actor, a Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Swatanter Kumar and Justice D Y Chandrachud issued her a notice asking her to explain as to why the authorities be not directed to act against her.

On request of Sushmitra's counsel Milind Sathe, the court granted her six weeks time to reply to the notice.

The court has upheld Sushmita's petition for quashing an order of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation's Joint Commissioner asking her to cough up more than Rs 23 lakh towards octroi and ten times penalty for importing the Landcruiser without paying due duties.

The court has held that the BMC authorities had ex-facie acted without authority of law and appearently exceeded their jurisdiction. It was held that the BMC act provides imposing penalty only after a person alleged of evading octroi was held guilty by a competent court and the BMC authorities had no authority could not take place of the competent court, as contemplated by the law.

At the same time the court took serious note of allegations made against Sushmita, such as payment of insufficient custom duty, making false records, registering the new car as used one, importing it under transfer of residence, mentioning wrong engine and chasis numbers, undervaluing the vehicle and submitting false declaration to the registeration authorities, against Sushmita.

Saying that, these factors could not be ignored by it as these acts on part of the Actor and Wasu Thamala - allegedly a non-existent person from whom Sushmita has taken over the vehicle - has violated the laws and ''to ensure proper administration of justice'' the court felt it necesary to direct concerned authorities to take action against Sushmita and Thamala.

UNI

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