Thiruvananthapuram

MP held, released in tax evasion case

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Crime Branch questions actor Amala Paul

The Crime Branch (CB) on Monday arrested actor Suresh Gopi, MP, on the charge of defrauding the State government of vehicle tax on his super luxury car. Mr. Gopi, who surrendered before the CB, was released on bail in deference to a High Court (HC) order. Actor Amala Paul, who is facing similar charges, was questioned by the agency and let off.

The actor-turned-politician executed a bail bond of ₹1 lakh and produced two solvent persons as sureties.

The case against Mr. Gopi was that he had allegedly used fake notarised documents to show permanent residency in the Union Territory to register his luxury car in Puducherry to dodge the steep tax on opulent vehicles in Kerala .

Inter-State fraud

The actor’s arrest was the latest development in the agency’s sweeping inquiry into the inter-State automobile tax evasion fraud.

It had questioned Mr. Gopi earlier but stopped short of arresting him as the High Court was considering his anticipatory bail plea. The court did not stay his arrest but ordered the agency to extend him bail.

The CB had in November last charged Mr. Gopi with cheating, forgery and use of forged documents as genuine ones under Sections 420, 468 and 471 of the Indian Penal Code. The offences are non-bailable and carry a punishment of up to seven years of rigorous imprisonment.

Ms. Paul surrendered before the CB nearly two months after the agency had indicted her for having used forged documents to fraudulently register her super luxury car in Puducherry. The agency interrogated her for the better part of the day.

Charges

The CB had charged the actor with cheating, forgery and use of forged documents as genuine ones under Sections 420, 468 and 471 of the IPC.

She arrived at the CB headquarters on the strength of an anticipatory bail application pending in the the court. Investigators recorded her statement and let her off as the court is considering her anticipatory bail plea.

The government has estimated that more than 5,000 vehicles purchased from automobile showrooms in Kerala were fraudulently registered in Puducherry. (Kerala levied 20% tax on vehicles costing ₹20 lakh and upwards. Puducherry imposed a far lesser duty.))

The CB had earlier arrested actor Fahadh Faasil on the same charge. It said the detections so far were just the tip of the iceberg and more indictments were in the offing.

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Printable version | Jan 23, 2020 2:12:11 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Thiruvananthapuram/cb-arrests-suresh-gopi-releases-him-on-bail/article22444363.ece

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