Known for winning on court, he lost it in court. Tennis star Mahesh Bhupathi tasted defeat on Monday when the Supreme Court dismissed his plea against the income tax department in a Rs 28.50 lakh tax battle.
A bench headed by Chief Justice of India SH Kapadia dismissed his appeal against an order of the Karnataka High Court that declined his claim for tax exemption. Bhupathi had contended he paid the amount to his father towards training fee.
It also refused to expunge the high court's comment that it was sham transaction. The HC had upheld the income tax department's order rejecting the tennis player's contention that he had reimbursed Rs 28.5 lakh to his father CG Krishna Bhupathi, who trained him to become an international player.
Bhupathi had claimed that his father spent the money on him for four years during the period from 1989-90 to 1993-94 and had claimed tax exemption on this 'transaction', citing a 1994 agreement with his father.
Bhupathi's counsel had argued that a renowned tennis player, his father was running a coaching centre in Oman and he was entitled to claim his fees. But the HC rejected his plea for seeking tax exemption and agreed with the I-T department that the father-son 'agreement' was entered into only to avoid tax liability and was contrary to the very foundation of the Hindu law.
The I.T. department said, under the Hindu law it was the pious duty of the father to educate his progeny and it was also contrary to the provisions of the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act. “It is the pious and moral obligation of the father to maintain the son during his minority or till he independently starts earning. If really there was an agreement between the father and son, such agreement would have come into existence before training the son by the father,” it said.
“In this case, the agreement has been entered into after the assessee (Bhupathi) started getting remuneration from the tennis association,” the HC said.