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Word Count: 764
An award with customs duty Ramu Sharma Sachin Tendulkar makes news whether it is for performance on the cricket field or for awards received off it He however would be the last person to have wished to be involved in the controversy raging over gift of Ferrari-360 Modeno given to him by Fiat Motors last year He received it last year on the occasion of his scoring his 29th Test hundred and drawing level with Don Bradman It was not the gift which was the problem but the elephantine import duty of over Rs 1 crore that created all the furore Sachin was not at fault in asking duty exemption from the government The government too perhaps falling in line with popular sentiment or so it must have thought duly obliged Thereafter seeds of a big controversy were sown By stepping in to question the duty waiver the Delhi-High Court brought into focus the question of equal rights for all citizens and this act of profligacy at a time when the Union Sports Ministry had complained of financial difficulty It must be remembered that one of the excuses reportedly given by the ministry for restricting the number of Arjuna Awards was lack of money There is however another perspective which must be always borne in mind First and foremost Sachin is not the first sportsman to have asked for duty waiver for an award The government had given Ravi Shastri same benevolent nod when he won the Audi in the Champion of Champions Tournament Down Under in mid-80s The only difference was that while the Audi had to be won by performance in the tournament Sachin received the car as a gift from Fiat for whom he is a product profile The government had if one remembers correctly granted similar facility to Ramesh Krishnan when he won the Volvo Tournament in the USA years ago Sachins problem has it appears been
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