Reebok India under I-T scanner; Department issues notices to executives

The I-T department issued notices to Reebok India executives for producing documents, personal transactions and I-T returns for the last four years

Delhi/Gurgaon: In more trouble for Reebok India, the Income Tax (I-T) department has launched a probe into its finances and has begun issuing notices to its executives after an alleged Rs870-crore fraud case was detected by the company against two of its top officials, reports PTI.

The Gurgaon police has already constituted a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe the case.

The Income Tax department, which had earlier this month conducted a survey at the Gurgaon office of the sportswear manufacturer, has recently collected additional financial documents including from some of those of the firm based in the country.

The I-T officials are also looking at the corporate structuring and financing of the company.

Notices for production of documents, personal transactions and I-T returns for the last four years have been sought by the authorities from the India-based executives of the firm for the I-T probe for checking possible financial wrongdoing in the company and subsequent tax evasion, sources said.

The I-T investigations directorate has also alerted its intelligence wing in this regard to supply it with necessary inputs after Adidas, owner of Reebok, recently claimed commercial irregularities in its India operations.

As per the FIR filed yesterday, by the company with the Gurgaon police, against its former MD Subhinder Singh Prem and COO Vishnu Bhagat, Reebok India alleged that the duo had indulged in "criminal conspiracy" and "fraudulent" practises over a period of time that resulted in Adidas group taking a "total hit of approximately Rs 870 crore in the books."

Reebok India is a part of the Adidas group.

In the FIR, Reebok India had further said it will also incur a restructuring cost of Rs 487 crore to remedy the consequences of the "criminal and fraudulent" acts of its formers top executives.

The I-T department, according to sources, has also asked the Gurgaon tax assessment range to dig out past returns filed by the firm and the TDS payment receipts which would be tallied with the documents seized by the sleuths during their survey.

The taxmen had collected documents related to sales and purchase made by the firm during the last financial year and few others, including trade receipts processed by the company during the survey operation.

Earlier this month, Adidas group had announced that it had uncovered commercial irregularities to the tune of 125 million euros in its subsidiary Reebok India, and that Prem and Bhagat were sacked.

It had also announced plans to close one-third of around 900 Reebok stores as part of a restructuring strategy.

Reacting to the development, Prem had initiated legal action against the global giant for defamation and unfair termination of his services.


Clock cannot be set back but review Central laws: Interlocutors

The Interlocutors have called for a review of all Central Acts and all Articles of the Constitution of India extended to Jammu and Kashmir after the 1952 Delhi agreement

New Delhi: Ruling out a return to the pre-1953 position, Centre's interlocutors on Thursday recommended setting up of a Constitutional Committee to review all Acts and Articles of the Constitution of India extended to Jammu and Kashmir and upholding of Article 370, reports PTI.

The report of the interlocutors--Dileep Padgaonkar, Radha Kumar and MM Ansari-- underlined that "the clock cannot be set back" but felt that the 'erosion' of Article 370 over decades needed to be "re-appraised" to give it more powers.

In their 176-page report, made public today, they have called for a review of all Central Acts and all Articles of the Constitution of India extended to the state after the 1952 Delhi agreement which also gave special status to the state under Article 370.

"This does not mean a pure and simple return to the pre-1953 situation. The clock cannot be set back. Instead, the group wants such a review to take into full account the changes that have taken place in the last six decades," the report said.

In the pre-1953 era, the Centre's jurisdiction was mainly restricted to Defence, External Affairs, Communication and Finance. The 1952 agreement between the Centre and Sheikh Abdullah enabled extension of all the central acts, Articles of Constitution of India including Supreme Court and hoisting of Indian tri-colour along with the state flag.

Significantly, the state assembly passed a resolution in 2000 demanding among other things rescinding of all central legislation except Defence, Finance, Telecom and External Affairs, which was rejected by the Union Government.

In a move aimed at strengthening of Article 370, the interlocutors report demanded deletion of the word 'temporary' from its heading in the Constitution and replacing it with 'special' as has been used in Article 371 in the case of some states.

A similar recommendation was made in the autonomy resolution of the state Assembly.

Padgaonkar later said that interlocutors have not recommended abolition of Article 370. "What we have said is that we are not inventing something. Under article 371 there are several states of the Union which have been designated as special category states.

"We have just said that you remove the word temporary as regards J and K and use the word special as it is being done in the case of several states. We have listed the state which come under the category of special states. Instead of temporary, we wanted to put the word special in line with what is being done with the other states."

The interlocutors have recommended status quo in the use of nomenclatures in English of Governor and Chief Minister and equivalent nomenclatures in Urdu may be used.

In an earlier era until 1965, the Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir was addressed as 'Wazir-e-Azam' (Prime Minister) and the Governor as 'Sadar-e-Riyasat' (President).


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