Currently in Bangladesh, Apurba, Afran Nisho and Mehazabien Chowdhury are considered as extremely busy and most expensive artistes in the Bangla drama circle. According to credible sources, while Apurba and Afran Nisho take BDT 150,000 for each of the single-episode drama, Mehazabien Chowdhury is taking 80,000-100,000. Another most expensive performer is Tanjin Tisha. Although, on an average Apurba, Afran Nisho and Mehazabien Chowdhury are being cast in almost 100 single episode dramas and while they make minimum BDT 150,00,000 each, their income record is extremely suspicious as none have been either showing their real income or paying the exact amount of income tax.
According to National Board of Revenue (NBR), dodging income tax is punishable crime. Investigation can be initiated against any individual or professional for the allegation of dodging income tax. In this regard, National Board of Revenue and Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) can separately initiate investigations.
While Bangladesh authorities have imposed Value Added Tax (VAT) at the rate of 15 percent from March 4, 2019 on all Bangladeshi advertisements going to online platforms, like, Facebook, Google, and YouTube, NBR and ACC are showing surprising reluctance in investigating the case of income tax dodging of the television drama actors.
According to media reports, there are currently 22.2 million active Facebook users in Dhaka alone and with digital marketing being as relevant as it has ever been, the yield from the VAT collected from Facebook, YouTube, Google and Amazon can be monumental if the revenue is collected thoroughly and if the tech companies are properly vetted during collection of yearly financial records. The total number of active Facebook users in Bangladesh would cross at least 70 million.
As per existing law, any individual earning BDT 10 million or above should pay at least 30 percent of the total accrued/earned amount as income tax. In this case, Apurba, Afran Nisho and Mehazabien Chowdhury are supposed to pay BDT 3-5 million annually as income tax. But unfortunate fact is, none of them are paying even near the real amount of income taxes. In most cases, they are suppressing their annual income.
A source said, National Board of Revenue and Anti Corruption Commission can easily find out the real income of Afran Nisho and Mehazabien Chowdhury by interviewing several members of the Bangladesh’s drama sector.
It may be mentioned here that, Afran Nisho and Mehazabien Chowdhury came into media’s focus because of a controversial television fiction they have worked, which has bullied autistic children.
The drama titled ‘Ghotona Shotyo’ (incident is true) has generated severe reaction in the society as the drama terms autistic children as “product of sin”. According to media reports, this special tele-fiction, directed by Rubel Hasan and produced by Central Music & Video (CMV), a company owned by an individual named Helal Khan, a leader of the cultural wing of Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) has enraged audience and members of the civil society due to its cruelty towards autistic children or children with special needs.
The story of Ghotona Shotto follows a couple who deceive people around them. Towards the end, it is shown that they have a child with special needs. In one scene, the couple wonders if the condition of their autistic child is a result of their misdeeds and sin.
The fiction stars actors Mehazabien Chowdhury and Afran Nisho.
People condemned the message portrayed in the tele-fiction, raising questions about the sensitivity of the writes, makers, actors and its producer towards the topic of autistic children. Although CMV claimed to have taken down the content from their YouTube channel, according to information, the content has not been removed. Instead, the company has just put it as ‘private’.