Six times Indian celebrities have been involved in luxury car tax evasion cases: Saif Ali Khan, Amala Paul, Fahadh Faasil and others


High tariffs on imported cars have led many movie and sports stars to evade some of these taxes

Tamil actor Vijay breathed a sigh of relief when the Madras High Court (HC) waived a fine of Rs 1 lakh which was recently slapped on him. The veteran actor appealed in 2012 for an exemption from a head tax of Rs 40 lakh for his Rolls Royce Ghost, but the court ordered him to pay the amount. He is one of the many famous people in the limelight who got into trouble with the police for getting an expensive luxury car. Tax laws and rights differ from state to state in India, and here are some celebrities who have allegedly tried to bend the rules:

Fahadh Faasil

In 2017, the Malayalam actor was arrested and then released on bail in Kerala. Apparently his Mercedes-AMG E63 sports sedan was registered in the Union Territory (UT) of Pondicherry, even though he lived in Kerala. Reports say the critically acclaimed actor, known for films such as Nights of Kumbalangi, paid Rs 19 lakh for payments imposed by the court.

Amala Paul

This Malayalam actress also lives in Kerala. She had bought a Mercedes Benz S-Class in Bangalore in 2017, but registered it using a rented address in Pondicherry, saving almost Rs 19 lakh by avoiding Kerala’s higher registration fees and road taxes. The actress claims the car was primarily driven outside Kerala, but surrendered to authorities in 2018 and paid the applicable fines and taxes.

Danny denzongpa

This veteran Bollywood actor has registered his Range Rover in its original state, Sikkim. As he now lives in Mumbai, Maharashtra authorities reprimanded him in 2017. He had to pay almost Rs 30 lakh in fines and costs.

Suresh Gopi

The veteran Malayalam actor has been with the company since the 1980s and is now an appointed member of the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the Indian Parliament. Despite his political status, Suresh Gopi was arrested by law for two of his Audis registered in Pondicherry. The first case was reported in 2017 around the same time as the Amala and Fahaad cases, and the second report was released in 2020. In total, the Crime Branch alleged that Gopi evaded nearly Rs 20 lakh in taxes and fees.

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Saif Ali Khan

Saif acquired a Toyota Land Cruiser in 2004, but it was imported under the transfer of residence rule which allows an overseas Indian returning to India to bring their car back to India without paying customs duties. . Saif made the payment through someone returning to India from Dubai. However, the Directorate of Enforcement (ED) alleged that the buyer could not have afforded a brand new Land Cruiser in Dubai and then traced the payment back to the famous Bollywood actor. To escape a tariff of Rs 30 lakh, Saif had to pay Rs 90 lakh in total fees and penalties.

Sachin Tendulkar

Fortunately, Sachin has never been reprimanded for his cars. In 2002, he equaled the long-standing record of iconic Australian cricketer Sir Donald Bradman by marking his 29th century in a test match. He was invited to the Ferrari paddock at the Silverstone circuit in the UK, where Michael Schumacher himself handed Sachin the keys to a new Ferrari 360 Modena. The staggering importance of this historic moment only grew over time, but there was a scandal in India at the time as it was exempt from the 150 percent import duty of around 1 , 13 crore rupees to bring his gift to India.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni

Around 2009, MS Dhoni bought a GMC Hummer H2 SUV which had to be imported from the United States. The transport officer responsible for issuing the registration certificate accidentally inserted his car model as “Mahindra Scorpio”, possibly because the H2 was not in the government’s database at the time. era. The error and the subsequent loss of Rs 3.5 lakh in registration fees and taxes were discovered seven years later. Dhoni not only had to pay the rest of the tax amount, but also a penalty.

Why do some people try to bend the rules?

Import laws have long been a thorn in the side of tankers in India. The few who can afford to buy luxury and sports cars face constantly changing rules and, currently, a high tariff of 100%. Add to that registration fees (between 10-20% for different states), insurance and other charges, and the price of the car is inflated to more than twice its original purchase cost.

In the past, it was almost 10 times cheaper to register a car in Pondicherry than in Mumbai, and all you needed was a temporary address. This is why celebrities often register their cars there instead of their state of residence. Today, the gap between registrations in Mumbai (where the tax has been capped at 20%) and Pondicherry is almost non-existent, although differences between other states exist. While the evasion of registration fees has led to arrests even among the rich and famous, it is undoubtedly a slight overcharge compared to the tariffs which still cost as much as the car you do. import, and which have always cost even more.

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In conclusion, Indians pay much more than people in first world countries for exotic brands such as Lamborghini, BMW and Roll-Royce. Lowering car taxes can certainly bring much needed diversity to the Indian market. It might even allow some of our favorite cars, such as the Porsche 911 and Ford Mustang GT, to depreciate to a point where more people can buy and drive them. In these times when irreparable climate change is on the horizon, this may even be the right way forward to improve the adoption of electric vehicles and hybrid cars in the country.


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