Celebrities among 1.5 lakh vehicle owners served notices for cess default: NMMC

Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) has served notices to around 24,000 vehicle ownersfor having failed to pay the statutory levies on their vehicles. The list includes names of several celebrities including cricketer Sachin Tendulkar, singer and music composer Shankar Mahadevan, politician D Y Patil and industrialist Anil Ambani, among many others for cess theft.

The civic body, on an intensive cess recovery, has identified defaulters who registered their vehicles in Navi Mumbai but failed to pay the cess of 1 per cent of the cost of their vehicle - 4 per cent lower than what they would have had to pay in Mumbai city.

According to Mahavir Pedhari, deputy municipal commissioner, NMMC, the corporation observed that not all the people who registered their vehicles in Navi Mumbai had paid the cess.

The corporation initiated a massive drive and obtained the records of around 1.5 lakh vehicles registered with Navi Mumbai RTO over the last few years. In a strategy to net the affluent defaulters first, NMMC started with cars costing above Rs50 lakh and identified 25 celebrities, and corporate houses as defaulters. They were all issued notices to pay up the cess along with penal interest.

Pendhari confirmed that Tendulkar, Mahadevan, Ambani and Patil were among the celebrity defaulters. City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO), a government body that has the mandate for development of Navi Mumbai, is also on the list.

Pendhari said that while scrutinising the files,  the corporation was shocked that cars with price tags of Rs1 crore were registered with addresses that would locate the owners in slums.

Moreover, multiple vehicle individuals and even companies with 50-100 vehicles registered under their names have defaulted on the cess payment, he added. NMMC is now trying to trace the owners and their actual addresses to recover the amount they owe to the authorities.

In next few months NMMC plans to complete the scrutiny of all the 1.5 lakh vehicle registration papers and compare them with their cess records to identify defaulters. The civic body has also set up an office in Regional Transport Office (RTO), Navi Mumbai to target all the fresh vehicles currently under registration.