The Bombay High Court directed Bollywood actor Sushmita Sen to pay octroi duty of Rs 2.16 lakh to Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on her imported Toyota Land Cruiser.
A division bench of Justices FI Rebello and AV Mohta gave the actor three weeks’ time to pay up. However, the court directed the BMC to give Sen a hearing before imposing penalty for non-payment of octroi, which is 10 times the octroi amount.
Sen argued that she had not imported the vehicle. According to her petition, she had purchased the Land Cruiser from Vasu Thamalla in May 2005.
The court has directed the BMC to issue a notice to the actor, give a hearing and decide within four weeks whether to impose penalty. The actor has to give a bank guarantee of Rs 10 lakh in favour of the BMC, valid for the period pending the issue of penalty.
BMC counsel Joaquin Reis argued that celebrities often import vehicles in other people’s name. "Instead of seizing the vehicle, we issued notice for payment of octroi along with the penalty," he said.
Last year in June, Sen received a notice from the BMC to pay octroi and penalty for the vehicle. The actor had shown willingness to pay the octroi, but requested the BMC to waive the penalty saying that the car’s owner should have paid it. The octroi amount was Rs 2,16,998, and the penalty came to about Rs 22 lakh.