District Collector Saurabh Rao has ordered inquiry into the massive evasion of entertainment tax while organizing the event Sham-E-Ghazal on Saturday night at Hotel Sun n Sand on Wardha road here. Noted ghazal artist and Bollywood background singer Pankaj Udhas performed at the show amidst upheaval caused by few angry audiences who accused the organizer of backing off on their promise of getting them clicked with Udhas. The liquor too flowed freely sans due permission.
The organizer Fiable Entertainment had got the permission for the event dubbing it as the private event for Rotary club members. However, it appeared that the organizers sold the entry passes at as high as Rs 4000 and collected huge amount of money while smartly evading entertainment tax on the show.
The event was attended by senior officials from various departments and many other senior personnel. Besides, some political leaders including MLA Krishna Khopde were also prominently present on the occasion.
Collector Rao who could not make it to the event told Nagpur Today that he was busy in preparation for panchayat elections. He said, “Even today I am quite occupied with the panchayat elections work but I have received the complaint of entertainment tax evasion by the organizers. I have already ordered probe in the matter and once I get over from the election works, I will certainly revert back at the probe status.” Additional district magistrate Asha Pathan is probing the matter.
Rao, however, was not aware of any ruckus at the venue. “I only received this piece of information that the event was being organized without acknowledging entertainment duty but as far the commotion is concerned the commissioner who was present on the occasion might have taken cognizance (of the ruckus),” he told Nagpur Today on Sunday.
Sources informed that an iron merchant Rakesh Agrawal and another audience namely Krishna got up from their seats while Udhas was performing. Both went up to the stage and insisted on having photographs clicked with Udhas. However the bouncers blocked them and pushed them aside. Agrawal informed that he had paid hefty sum of Rs 10,000 at the instance of organizer who promised him of being privileged at the show. When the bouncers escorted Agrawal off the stage, he went on the entrance corridor and lied down, insisting upon calling the police. “He even threw the golden chain he was was wearing on the floor and scattered cash from his valet, alleging the organizer of cheating on him,” informed an onlooker.
Organiser flauted norms, covered up facts
When Nagpur Today contacted Bhavesh Vasani, the owner of Fiable Entertainment which conducted the ghazal night, he denied the money being collected for the show. He however accepted that there was some fund raising activity for the Rotary Club members for whom few tickets were meant to be sold. But he did not bring this aspect to the knowledge of entertainment tax department while seeking permission for the private event, which eventually turned commercial. Even the entertainment tax department did not pay any heed when Nagpur Today brought this blunder before senior incharge of Entertainment Tax department Kaviraj Kamble.