Actor Mahesh Babu, who is currently holidaying in Dubai with wife and children, was in for a shock when he woke up on Friday morning to read that his bank accounts were frozen, allegedly due to non-payment of GST dues. A statement issued on Mahesh Babu's behalf reads: "The GST Commissionerate Hyderabad has attached the bank accounts for a disputed tax demand of Rs 18.5 lakh claiming Rs 73.5 lakhs towards Tax interest and penalty for brand ambassador services rendered in FY 2007-08 which was not taxable service.
"The brand ambassador services was brought in the statute by insertion of section 65(105)(zzzzq) with effect from 1-7-2010. The GST Commissionerate Hyderabad has carried out the attachment when several judicial pronouncements on this issue is in favour of the taxpayer and more so when the dispute is pending before the High Court. Mahesh Babu is a law abiding citizen complying with all fiscal legislations and has no undisputed tax payable."
A source close to Mahesh said the actor is "shocked and surprised" by the sudden move to freeze his accounts.
"He has always paid his taxes. There is full transparency in his finances. And this move to freeze his accounts…there wasn't any intimation, warning or reminder. Anyway he has paid up the so-called dues and will dispute the GST claim legally after he returns from his holiday."
By Subhash K. Jha