Bhushan told to pay Rs 1.32 cr duty plus interest on his ‘1-lakh bungalow’

The office of the assistant stamp commissioner here today found Team Anna member Shanti Bhushan guilty of evading stamp duty in purchase of a bungalow in Allahabad's posh Civil Lines, slapping him with a Rs 27 lakh fine and asking him to deposit Rs 1.32 crore in duty along with interest.

Bhushan has been asked to pay the entire amount within a month.

Bhushan said the order was "illegal", and the stamp collector had told his counsel that there was lot of "political pressure" in the case. He said he would challenge the order in Allahabad High Court.

Bhushan had claimed the property was bought for Rs 1 lakh, and paid a stamp duty of Rs 46,700. An inquiry reportedly revealed that Bhushan also concealed pucca construction on 660 sq m to lower the stamp duty.

However, the valuation of the property — 7,818 sq m on Elgin Road — came to Rs 19.23 crore, with stamp duty of around Rs 1.33 crore, Assistant Stamp Commissioner K P Pandey told The Indian Express.

"The difference came to a little over Rs 1.32 crore, which he will have to pay with 1.5 per cent monthly interest," said Pandey. The interest will be calculated from November 29, 2010, the day Bhushan produced the documents for registry.

According to Pandey, the date of agreement on sale was of little consequence. "Stamp duty is calculated on the existing rules and regulations of the day," he said. "The new rules have been in force since 1997."

Bhushan's counsel Sangam Lal Agarwal said, "Prior to an amendment (in 1969), stamp duty was supposed to be charged at the rate which existed at the time of the agreement between the two parties. We are entitled to pay stamp duty on the basis of rates existing in 1966 — the year in which the agreement was made," said Agarwal.

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