Chandigarh Deputy Commissioner and Excise and Taxation Commissioner Mandip Singh Brar on Wednesday ordered a high-level investigation into an “illegal and exorbitant charge of GST” by Hotel JW Marriott on two fresh bananas, for which actor Rahul Bose was given a bill of Rs 442.50. On Sunday, Bose had posted a video on Twitter expressing shock at being charged Rs 442.50 for two bananas at the high-end hotel, located in Sector 35. “You have to see this to believe it. Who said fruit wasn’t harmful to your existence? Ask the wonderful folks at @JWMarriottChd #goingbananas #howtogetfitandgobroke #potassiumforkings,” he had tweeted.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Brar said, “Taking cognisance of the video and bill posted by the actor, I have ordered an investigation. I have directed Assistant Excise and Taxation Commissioner (AETC) Rajeev Chaudhary to conduct a thorough probe on how the hotel had charged GST on fresh fruits. Strict action will be taken if found guilty.”
You have to see this to believe it. Who said fruit wasn’t harmful to your existence? Ask the wonderful folks at @JWMarriottChd #goingbananas #howtogetfitandgobroke #potassiumforkings pic.twitter.com/SNJvecHvZB
— Rahul Bose (@RahulBose1) July 22, 2019
Attempts were made to contact JW Marriott officials, but to no avail. After calls to the communication manager went unanswered, their PR agency was asked for the hotel’s version, but they did not respond.
The AETC has also been directed to inquire whether or not the hotel was depositing GST on other chargeable items with the excise and taxation department.
Ajay Jagga, who has authored two books on GST, told Newsline, “Fresh fruits and vegetables are not chargeable under GST. Offering two bananas in the garb of a fruit platter and charging exorbitant GST is also a matter to investigate under the Consumer Protection Act. If it would have been a proper fruit platter, even then they are authorised to charge only 5 per cent GST and not 18 per cent as was done in this case.”
‘They’re just too good for me’
In the 38-second video, Bose says, “So I am shooting in Chandigarh and I am staying at this beautiful suite at JW Marriott where they give you all these elegant freebies like these chocolate cookies…god knows how much these beautiful flowers must have cost…but get this…I was in the gym and I asked for two bananas…and check the bill out.” According to the bill shown in the video, the actor was charged for a ‘fruit platter’.
Before the video ends, the actor remarks, “They’re just too good for me…Well done JW Marriott Chandigarh.”
Till Wednesday night, Bose’s tweet had been retweeted 1,500 times and 1,200 users had replied to it. “JW Marriott is this how you cheat your guests by charging GST wrongfully? I wonder how many crores you must have frisked out till date from your guests by this way of cheating. This is daylight robbery @GST_Council,” a user tweeted.