Immunity cannot be given against fraud: SC

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New Delhi, Jul 9 (UNI) The Supreme Court today made it clear that immunity cannot be given against fraud and told a petitioner, who had sold an imported Land Cruiser car to Bollywood actress Sushmita Sen, to go and face the proceedings pending in the Bombay High Court.

A bench comprising Justices S H Kapadia and B Sudershan Reddy refused to interfere with the High Court order and entertain the petition filed by Haren Choksey.

Sushmita Sen was earlier issued a show cause notice in 2005, when she had bought the car, by the Customs authorities for making misrepresentation to evade Customs Duty.

She later paid Rs 20,32,836, with a penalty of Rs two lakh, to the Settlement Commissioner, who granted her exemption/immunity against any other proceedings in the case.

Later, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) also issued show cause notice to Sushmita Sen, asking for payment of some local taxes.

Sushmita challenged the demand notice in the Bombay High Court, contending that local bodies are not entitled to demand taxes on the imported car. The Bombay High Court allowed her petition, but made some observations, based on which an FIR was registered against Haren Choksey, who was arrested in May 2005.

He did not challenge the FIR, but questioned the observations made by the High Court in the Supreme Court. The apex court, however, permitted him to withdraw his petition.

The value of the car is about Rs 60 lakh. At present, no proceedings are pending against the actress. The car was purchased abroad by one Vasu Thamala.

UNI SC SBC PM1550

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