Mumbai

Padmaavat failed to pay tax dues: HJS

Hindu Janjagruti Samiti (HJS), a right-wing fringe group, alleged on Tuesday that filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s production house had defaulted on tax dues during the shooting of his film Padmaavat, which has been cleared by the Supreme Court for screening on Thursday.

The HJS claimed that tax had not been paid during the film’s shoot in Kolhapur’s Masai Pathar, a picturesque plateau in Panhala. The HJS alleged that over ₹1.91 lakh had to be paid in taxes, but the production house paid only ₹28,000.

It also alleged that permission from the Forest Department and the district authorities had not been taken in “a proper manner”. In March last year, the film’s set at Masai Pathar was vandalised and costumes were torched by unidentified persons.

Milind Dharmadhikari of the HJS said, “An RTI filed by us revealed that only three days’ tax was paid by the film-maker despite a shooting schedule of nearly 20 days. While the sum in question may not amount to much, the matter is clearly a case of financial irregularity and we demand the government lodge a case against Sanjay Leela Bhansali Productions.”

Mr. Dharmadhikari said that two slots for shooting were granted by Kolhapur district authorities between March 6 and 14 and between March 21 and 30. He said, “According to the RTI reply, the permission for shooting was sought by Omkar Stage Services, a Kolhapur-based company, on behalf of Sanjay Leela Bhansali Production. It is to be noted that when the set was torched on March 15, the film-makers had no permission from the authorities to use the land for shooting.”

Mr. Dharmadhikari said proofs showing the alleged tax default had been submitted to Kolhapur district authorities. He said, “This is a clear case of cheating and we demand that the State government not screen the film till the full due amount has been paid. We demand that a case be lodged against the filmmaker in this regard.”

The HJS said protests against the screening of the film would continue in Pune and across Maharashtra as the film “hurt the sentiments of the Hindu community”. Mr. Dharmadhikari said, “Besides offending sentiments, the screening of the film could lead to a potential law and order situation. We demand that the screenings be halted.”

In 2015, the HJS protested against Mr. Bhansali’s Bajirao-Mastani for being “a gross distortion of history”.

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Printable version | Sep 24, 2020 5:25:56 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/padmaavat-failed-to-pay-tax-dues-hjs/article22500966.ece

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