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I-T's all happening to the Bachchans

I-T's all happening to the Bachchans

Taxmen have sent a notice to Jaya Bachchan, for financial irregularities. Abhishek too has come under scrutiny.

Mumbai: The Income Tax department is on the Bachchan trail yet again.

First there were reports that Amitabh Bachchan had been sent an I-T notice for possessing an expensive pair of sunglasses, and now the taxmen have sent a notice to his wife, Rajya Sabha MP Jaya Bachchan, for financial irregularities.

The I-T department has indicated that Jaya did not file income tax returns in 1984 as the director of Lotus Entertainment.

It is understood that she quit her post in 1998. However, the I-T department says that she did not file returns for the expenses that were incurred during her tenure.

The Bachchans’ son Bollywood actor Abhishek Bachchan, too, has come under scrutiny. The department is checking whether Abhishek had filed returns in the past six years.

The Bachchans claim that they are victims of political vendetta.

Hundreds of Samajwadi Party (SP) workers had protested in Allahabad, Kolkata and Lucknow on Monday afternoon against the notices sent by the I-T department.

Protestors shouted slogans against Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and burnt their effigies.

SP leader Amar Singh has said that the Congress is deliberately targeting the Bachchan family and that the I-T department is being unfair to Bachchan.

“They send him notices when he's in the ICU, they ask him if he owns the house he lives in, they ask him to prove he's an actor, and now they're asking about a 12-year old matter, which is time-barred," Singh said.

On Sunday, the I-T department had issued a notice to Jaya to furnish the details of the ownership and transfer of Jalsa, where the Bachchans have been staying for the last 24 years.

The Bachchans have now submitted documents to show the property was legally gifted by their relative, Ramola, in 1993.

This was the fifth notice sent by the department to Bachchan in the last six months.

Bachchan responded to the notice sent by the I-T department and said that their reports are “inaccurate.” He has questioned the justification of the notices, but said he's willing to respond to any call for clarification by the department.

The letter comes a day after the I-T department denied issuing notices to Bachchan regarding the purchase of Ray Ban sunglasses worth Rs 2.7 lakh.

Bachchan wore the branded glasses in his new film Zamanat, which is due to hit the theatres next week.

After the movie, Bachchan reportedly gifted the pair to the director of the film, S Ramanathan.

Bachchan has also clarified that he didn't go to New York to buy the sunglasses in question.

TAXING TIMES FOR BIG B
bullet Over the past eight months Big B seems to be having a tough time dealing with tax officials. bullet In November 2005, the Central Board of Direct Taxes demanded that the actor pay Rs 5 crore at one go. The actor later revealed that the taxmen came calling with this notice even as he was being wheeled in for surgery at the Leelavati Hospital in Mumbai.

bullet Bachchan was also asked to prove his status as a farmer, for a proposal to buy 20 acres of land in Maval taluka near Pune. His move to purchase land, which is only available to farmers was questioned under the Bombay Tenancy and Agricultural Land Act, 1963.

bullet In January 2006 the IT department refused Bachchan rebate allowed to artistes under the IT Act for the income he earned for anchoring Kaun Banega Crorepati - citing that anchoring was not acting.

bullet On March 16, Bachchan had to make a visit to the Aykar Bhavan in Mumbai regarding a long pending tax assessment matter. Normally high profile assesses do not personally go to the IT department unless they are summoned.

first published:June 13, 2006, 12:22 IST