Sena Govt Didn't Tax Jackson Show to Benefit Itself: HC

Sena Govt Didn't Tax Jackson Show to Benefit Itself: HC
Observing that there was 'malafide intention' in granting entertainment tax exemption to Micheal Jackson show, the Bombay High Court today directed Maharashtra government to reconsider the application for exemption.

"The ruling Shiv Sena-BJP government had not applied its mind before granting exemption to the concert in November 1996. The exemption was given with malafide intention to favour a trust Shiv Udyog Samiti, which was run by the ruling party itself," a division bench of Justices D K Deshmukh and Anoop Mohta said.

The court was hearing a petition filed by an NGO, Mumbai Grahak Panchayat, which alleged that there was an irregularity in granting tax exemption to the show in 1996 organised by event management company Wizcraft.

"The government did not conduct a proper enquiry before granting exemption. Thus the order is set aside. The state government is directed to reconsider the application (for tax exemption) filed by Wizcraft and decide within eight weeks," Justice Deshmukh ordered.

According to the petition, Wizcraft along with a trust Shiv Udyog Samiti founded by Raj Thackeray had misrepresented facts to the state government following which the then Minister for Cultural Affairs Pramod Navalkar had granted exemption.

The petition further stated that the government had granted tax exemption after observing that it was a "classical" show.

"If the government had not waived the tax, the state exchequer would have been richer by at least Rs 11.60 crore, the amount Wizcraft saved on entertainment tax," the petition stated.
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