Punjab Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu’s bank accounts seized for nonpayment of taxes

CHANDIGARH: The Income Tax department has sealed two of the bank accounts of former cricketer and Punjab Local Bodies and Tourism Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu for non-payment of taxes.

Sources said that the income tax department had sealed Sidhu’s bank accounts as he had failed to present bills of the expenditure shown in his tax returns filed for assessment year 2014-15. He had dues amounting to over Rs 52 lakh against him. He had made payments of Rs 47.11 lakh on salary of his staff, Rs 38.24 lakh on his travel, Rs 28.38 lakh on the clothes and Rs 17.80 lakh on fuel (Petrol and diesel). However, he had failed to show the bills, invoices and other documentary evidence in this regard to the income tax department and demanded by the department during the scrutiny.

“As the authenticity of the transactions could not be established, 30 percent of the total expenses were disallowed in order to prevent leakage of revenue,’’ said an official and added, “The assesse had gone in to appeal against the order on January 17 last year, but the Commissioner of Income-tax (Appeals) passed the order favoring the revenue and not provided any relief to the assesse, as he had failed to provide any documentary evidence in support of his claim.’’

The IT department has issued three notices to Sidhu before taking action against him. But Sidhu has once again insisted that he had diligently been filing his returns for the past ten years and he had never defaulted on the same.

Sidhu had earlier also remained in news for all the wrong reasons. In 2006, he was sentenced to a three-year jail term following a death in a road rage case. He then appealed in the Supreme court the case is going on at present.

Earlier this month, senior BJP leader Swaran Salaria, who had unsuccessfully contested Gurdaspur Lok Sabha by-poll last year, had filed a criminal defamation case against Sidhu. Last year, Sidhu courted controversy after he had said that he will split his time between his work as minister and his shooting schedule in Mumbai as he is a celebrity judge on popular comedy show ‘Comedy Nights With Kapil Sharma’.

Just before the assembly elections last year, Sidhu had joined the Congress and before that he was in the BJP and had remained Member of Parliament. He had been a bitter critic of the Badals (both former chief minister Parkash Singh Badal and his son former deputy chief minister and Shiromani Akali Dal President Sukhbir Singh Badal).

Recently on social media, many clips of Sidhu’s speeches have gone viral where his words of praise for the BJP, when he was in the saffron party and now the same rhetoric for Congress are doing the rounds.