Bombay High Court on Thursday issued notice to Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan following a public interest litigation filed by a city journalist alleging violation of Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) by the actor.
A division bench of Chief Justice Swatanter Kumar and Justice S C Dharmadhikari issued the notice while hearing a public interest litigation filed by Nirmal Thakur, reporter with a Hindi newspaper ‘Nirbhay Pathik’ seeking CBI inquiry into the alleged tax evasion carried out by Bachchan.
Bachchan has been asked to reply by July 19.
Thakur has alleged in the PIL that Bachchan indulged in foreign currency transaction without the mandatory permission from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). As per the provisions in FEMA, any person dealing in foreign currency without RBI permission has to seek permission from RBI.
His PIL states Bachchan had allegedly agreed in July 2001 to arrange Rs 10 crore and also a sum of USD six million. He has also submitted minutes of the said meeting wherein the purported deal was struck.
He claimed an affidavit signed by the actor and submitted to Esplanade Court here bears out his allegations. The said affidavit and minutes of the meeting were submitted to the Esplanade Court (a Metropolitan Magistrate's Court) during the proceedings of a case in that court, the PIL states. However, Thakur states that he does not have the copies of these and has prayed that the HC call for the papers from the magistrate’s court.
The petitioner also alleges the Bachchan family is guilty of tax evasion. Citing Jaya Bachchan's affidavit filed at the time of nomination while contesting Rajya Sabha elections, the PIL states that she and her husband are worth Rs 227 crore of which Rs 190 crore is of Bachchan.
“This is a as a proof of their illegal amassing of wealth,” states the PIL.
Public prosecutor Usha Kejariwal appearing on behalf of Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, Finance Ministry, and Central Board of Direct Taxes sought time to file reply.