The Madras High Court has stayed a warrant issued by a lower court here against Bollywood actress Sushmita Sen in connection with the import of a luxury car in alleged violation of provisions of foreign trade policy. When the petition by the Miss Universe came up on Wednesday, Justice R Suresh Kumar directed the economic offences court in Egmore here not to execute the warrant issued against her till the next date of hearing and posted the matter for hearing on August 2.
The case was registered by the Customs Department and Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) after it was found that the luxury vehicle was imported by misusing the provisions of Transfer of Residence (TR rules) of the Exim policy.
Investigations revealed that one Haren Choksey had sold a Toyota Landcruiser, imported by another Vasu Pandari Thamala, to Sen.
Later, it was found that the car was imported by alleged mis-declaration of the chassis number, year of manufacture and the value. Though the car was a 2004 model, it was declared as manufactured in 1998 to evade customs duties.
On January 24, 2006, the DRI had seized the vehicle under the provisions of the Customs Act, following which Sen voluntarily deposited Rs 20.31 lakh as differential customs duty.
The adjudication authority then slapped a penalty of Rs 20 lakh on Thamala and Rs 10 lakh on Choksey in 2008.
As the car was cleared by Chennai port customs authority, a case was registered against Choksey and Thamala for evasion of customs duty in Egmore economic offences court here and Sen was asked to appear to provide evidence against the duo.
As Sen failed to appear for hearing to provide evidence in the court in June, the magistrate had issued a warrant against her and posted the matter for further hearing on July 20.
Challenging the warrant, the actress moved the High Court.