16-Dec-2017
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Crime Branch books Suresh Gopi for automobile tax evasion

Thiruvananthapuram Dec 6: The Crime Branch (CB) has indicted actor and Rajya Sabha member Suresh Gopi for evading automobile tax on his high-end luxury vehicle.

The police have booked the action-hero 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. They also entail arrest.
 
In its First Information Report filed in the court of the Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) here, the CB accused the Bharatiya Janata Party leader of using fraudulent means to dodge paying the 20% luxury tax in Kerala on vehicles which carry a price tag of ₹20 lakh and upwards.
 
The agency said it suspected that Mr. Gopi had used fake residential addresses and fudged records to register his car in the Union Territory of Puducherry where the tax on luxury vehicles is considerably lesser compared to Kerala.
 
Last month, the CB had booked actors Fahad Fazal and Amala Paul on similar charges. The agency said investigators had received no response though they had served several summonses to the celebrities.
 
An internal inquiry by Transport Commissioner Anil Kanth had brought the inter-State racket to light. The CB had opened a criminal inquiry into the scam that has cost the State dear after Mr. Kanth's officers filed a first information statement at his behest.
 
The police and the Motor Vehicle Department are collecting information on other instances of similar tax evasion. Investigators said more celebrities could have benefited from the inter-State racket facilitated by vehicle showrooms looking to increase sales. Several intermediaries in Kerala and also Puducherry are also under the CB scanner for promoting the fraud.