Post Rahul Bose's banana video, IT team visits hotel explains 'No tax on fresh fruit'

Days after Rahul Bose's Tweet, a three-member team formed by the Excise and Taxation Department on Thursday visited the JW Marriott hotel in Sector 35 in Chandigarh and seized all the relevant records.

This comes after Actor Rahul Bose has expressed shock over the price of two bananas which he had ordered after his workout session at a five-star hotel here. Rahul on Tuesday took to social media and posted a video in which he is seen explaining how he was charged Rs 442 (including GST) for two bananas. The bananas were grandly listed as "fruit platter" in the bill.

The excise team visited the hotel a day after a day after the Chandigarh Deputy Commissioner and Excise and Taxation Commissioner Mandip Singh Brar ordered an investigation into an "illegal and exorbitant charge of GST" by the hotel on the bananas bought by the actor. Excise officials told the Indian Express that that prima facie, the case is also a violation of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986. The committee comprised Assistant Excise and Taxation Commissioner Rajeev Chaudhary, excise and taxation officers R L Chugh and Arun Dheer.

"ETOs have seized all relevant records. The question here is that fresh fruits are tax-free items, whatever the case may be, and 'fruit platter' is a taxable item. But the actor has been given fresh fruits and tax has been charged on it so we are investigating all angles. We are even probing whether relevant tax is being deposited regularly with the excise and taxation department or not," AETC Chaudhary told Chandigarh Newsline.

Meanwhile sources in the hotel management told the Indian Express that a five-star hotel (where room rent is Rs 7,500 and above per night) can charge 18 percent tax on sale of an item, GST experts said that as per law, fresh fruits are not taxable at all and as per law, tax is to be charged only on a taxable item.

The law says, “For the purpose of this section, where an exemption in respect of any goods or services or both from the whole or part of the tax leviable thereon has been granted absolutely, the registered person supplying such goods or services or both shall not collect the tax, in excess of the effective rate, on such supply of goods or services or both,” reported the Indian Express.

The experts also affirmed that in Rahul Bose's case the question was not about the percentage of tax but rather "tax charged on a tax-free item" as stated by the government, the leading daily's report said.