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ED directed to probe transactions by Big B

A reporter files a PIL seeking CBI inquiry into tax evasion by Amitabh Bachchan, reports Urvi Mahajani.
Hindustan Times | By Urvi Mahajani
UPDATED ON JUL 19, 2007 11:39 PM IST

Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan, currently in controversy over his farmer status, has another thing to worry about. The Bombay High Court on Thursday directed the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the Union of India to probe into the allegations of violation of Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) by the actor.

While disposing off a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Nirmal Thakur, reporter with a Hindi newspaper

Nirbhay Pathik

seeking CBI inquiry into the alleged tax evasion carried out by Bachchan, the HC has asked the Union and ED to investigate the matter and pass appropriate orders.

Thakur's lawyer BA Aloor claimed that they had acquired certain documents to substantiate their claim. A division bench of Chief Justice Swatanter Kumar and Justice Ranjana Desai has directed Thakur to submit the documents in two weeks with the ED.

Public prosecutor for Union government and ED, Usha Kejariwal, told the court that after receiving a complaint letter by Thakur, they (ED) had written two letters to him asking for more details and documents. "However, instead of giving us the documents, he filed the PIL," argued Kejariwal.

Thakur had alleged in his PIL that Bachchan indulged in foreign currency transaction without the mandatory permission of the Reserve Bank of India, thus violating FEMA.

As a proof of this transaction -- where Bachchan allegedly agreed to arrange Rs 10 crores and also a sum of USD six millions -- the petitioner was relying on minutes of the meeting wherein the alleged deal was struck.

The Chief Justice, however, observed on Thursday that ED, a statutory body, could not escape its responsibility while directing them to investigate the matter.

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