Maha cabinet upholds tax waiver to 1996 Michael Jackson show

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Mumbai, Jan 6 (PTI) The Maharashtra cabinet on Wednesday upheld a more than two-decade-old decision of the state government to grant entertainment tax waiver to Michael Jacksons musical concert held here in 1996.

The decision was a taken at a cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, his office said.

The concert in Mumbai by the 'King of Pop' was the brainchild of the Shiv Udyog Sena, then headed by Raj Thackeray who is now the MNS president, and a private event management company had helped organise the show.

A Shiv Sena-BJP government was in power in 1996 and Manohar Joshi was the chief minister when the concert was organised.

Even though the then Shiv Sena-led government had exempted the concert from entertainment tax in 1996, a division bench of the Bombay High courthad set aside the old order, citing 'non-application of mind', and sent the matter back to the government for reconsideration.

The cabinet has now upheld the decision to grant entertainment tax waiver given to the concert.

This will allow the event manager, Wizcraft International, to get back the amount earned from the show which had been deposited with the high court treasury as per HC orders.

The Mumbai Grahak Panchayat, a consumer rights organisation, had moved the high court in 1996 challenging the entertainment tax waiver.

In 2011, the HC had asked the government to reconsider the waiver, but no decision was taken so far. PTI MR RSY RSY