Sourav in court battle on tax

Calcutta, Feb. 2: Sourav Ganguly has padded up to fight a legal battle with the central service tax department, which asked him to pay Rs 3 crore in dues for the time when he was playing for Kolkata Knight Riders.

A source said the former India captain has already filed a case in Calcutta High Court challenging the service tax demand notice for the period between 2008 and 2011.

"Recently, K.K. Jaiswal, service tax commissioner, passed an order upholding a notice that the department had sent to Sourav asking him to cough up Rs 3.02 crore, which we are going to challenge in the high court," the source said.

Another source said the central government department had sent such notices to all IPL players and to franchisees and that others had gone to court, too.

Sourav got the tax notice on September 26, 2011, after which he challenged its validity before a commission headed by Jaiswal. In November 2012, the commission upheld the notice, prompting the cricketer to seek legal opinion.

Last Thursday, Sourav's lawyer filed a case in the high court challenging the service tax commissioner's order. The matter is likely to come up for hearing on February 5.

The demand for service tax had two components ' business support service and business auxiliary service, the source said.

"The tax incidence on account of business support service is due to the various promotional campaigns he had done for KKR. He has already paid over Rs 2 crore for that… But he is not liable to pay auxiliary service tax since the players are exempted from paying any service tax," the source said.

Sourav himself did not comment on the tax dispute. But he did speak on other issues today at the Kolkata Literary Meet.

Asked why he had not penned an autobiography yet, Sourav said: "We (Indian cricketers) normally tend to avoid controversy. I felt that there is no point writing if I cannot write everything. Sometimes you are forced not to write everything. I don't want a front-page photograph in a newspaper like that of Salman Rushdie this morning! That he is not allowed to enter the festival…."

Sourav was referring to the news of Salman Rushdie holding Mamata Banerjee responsible for the cancellation of his Calcutta trip on January 30.

If the reference to Rushdie was like a straight-driven four, Sourav followed it with a sixer. When asked, "Dada, why don't you become the brand ambassador for Bengal sports?", he shot back with a smile: "Well, you'll have to ask Didi about that."

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