The bank accounts of the owner of Mirror Media and Production Ltd, which brought famous Indian actress Shilpa Shetty to Dhaka in late July for an event, were frozen by the National Board of Revenue (NBR) on allegations of non-payment of taxes.
The account of Shajahan Bhuiyan Razu was frozen because the actress was secretly brought to the country while the company was negotiating the approval of the event with the NBR's tax department.
Shetty attended the event and departed for her country, although it was never revealed how much money was spent on her and her team, depriving the government of owed taxes, sources said.
The NBR believes that a huge amount of money was transacted and the 30% tax on foreign income was dodged by the Mirror Media and Production Ltd.
Razu, however, told The Business Standard that Shetty came to Dhaka to receive an award and no money was given to her for the purpose.
He said his account was frozen for non-filing of taxes for three years. Razu also said the NBR's no-objection was not required for this type of event.
NBR officials, however, did not agree with his statement.
Sources said Razu has been interrogated by the NBR's Central Intelligence Cell (CIC) regarding the issue of tax evasion.
A senior CIC official told TBS on condition of anonymity that all of Razu's bank accounts were seized a month ago.
Shahin Akter, member (Tax Administration and HRM), told TBS that the event was postponed the day before Shilpa Shetty's arrival. But the next day, she arrived and the NBR had nothing to do with it.
Shahin Akter said those in charge of monitoring were not doing their jobs properly.
According to related sources, permission of the NBR is required in case of participation of foreigners in any event in Bangladesh.
No-objection letters are required on entry of artists into Bangladesh and payment of tax on return.
The Ministry of Home Affairs, airport authority, and culture and information ministries are supposed to ensure everything is in order for such events.
Meanwhile, Bollywood actress Nora Fatehi and other celebrities are scheduled to appear in a documentary on 18 November.
Fears of tax evasion also persist in this regard and instructions have been issued to parties concerned in advance to collect the applicable tax.