NEW DELHI, India: Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi paid no taxes on two cars given to him by King Hussein of Jordan, although such gifts are not exempt from customs duty, a newspaper reported today.

Mr. Gandhi, whose passion for fast and exotic cars is well known in India, was given a bulletproof Mercedes Benz and a Range Rover by the Jordanian monarch for hospitality accorded during a tour of India last year.

Customs duty was specially waived on both automobiles, although gifts to the Indian Premier by Heads of State are not exempt from taxes, The Indian Post said.

Officials at the Customs Collect orate and the Prime Minister’s Office was unavailable for comment.

Mr. Gandhi reportedly drives his foreign automobiles himself often at breakneck speed, making it impossible for Indian built Escort cars to keep up.

He was once stopped by a traffic policeman for reckless driving. On two occasions, his Indian built Escort cars snapped their axles and overturned while trying to match the speed of his Mercedes, The Post said.

It quoted a senior security official as saying that they had given up “even trying to get the Prime Minister to be sensible”, about his security.

Article extracted from this publication >>  May 29, 1987