Chandigarh: Former cricketer and Punjab Tourism Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu is back in news and for all the wrong reasons. This time, the Income Tax department has seized two of his bank accounts for failing to present bills of expenditure shown in his tax returns filed for year 2014-15.
Media reports suggest that Sidhu showed huge expenses; Rs 38 lakh in travel, towards fuel, Rs 28 lakh on clothes, Rs 47 lakh on staff salary, and Rs 18 lakh on fuel. However, he failed to show supporting bills, as demanded by the Income-Tax (IT) department. Meanwhile, Sidhu has continued to be defiant and he is reported to have insisted that he had diligently been filing his returns for the past ten years and he had never defaulted on the same. IT department has reportedly issued three notices to Sidhu before taking action against him.
This is not the first time that Sidhu has courted controversy. In 2006, he was sentenced to a three-year jail term following a death in a road rage case. However, he appealed in the Supreme court and the latter turned down his conviction.
Last year, a petition was filed in the Punjab and Haryana High Court over the kind of jokes he cracked and that he be asked to quit the show as he was a Minister in the state government. However, that petition was rejected.
Before that, Sidhu, who was an active BJP member, fought the general elections in 2004. He continued to be an MP on the BJP ticket till 2014. Then, the party nominated him to Rajya Sabha in 2016 but he quit a few months later.
Sidhu went on to join the Congress and fought last year’s state Assembly elections on a Congress ticket. He won and was offered a ministerial berth in the Amarinder Singh government. Lately, many clips of Sidhu’s speeches have gone viral where his words of praise for the BJP, when he was a member of the saffron party, are shown along side his similar rhetoric for the Congress, to which he belongs now. Sidhu may want to steer clear of controversy now but controversy doesn’t seem to have enough of the flamboyant former cricketer.