SC asks Vodafone to appear before I-T Dept in tax case

The court also made it clear that if the I-T Department passes any order for penalty, it would not be enforced till Supreme Court's further order as the main matter of tax dispute is still pending in the apex court

New Delhi: The Supreme Court today directed UK-based telecom major Vodafone to appear before the Income Tax (I-T) Department which had instructed the company to pay penalty in the $2 billion tax case relating to the telecom major's stake purchase in Hutchison-Essar, reports PTI.

A three-judge bench headed by chief justice SH Kapadia asked the company to file its representation before the I-T department.

"We direct the company to file its representation before the official concerned in this case. ...the officials would proceed in the matter," the court said.

Meanwhile, the court also made it clear that if the I-T Department passes any order for penalty, it would not be enforced till Supreme Court's further order as the main matter of tax dispute is still pending in the apex court.

"No steps would be taken to enforce a penalty if imposed on the petitioner," the court said.

During the proceedings, the Supreme Court told telecom major Vodafone that the tax penalty is at an initial stage because only notices have been issued till now by the I-T Department to the company.

"They (I-T Department) are asking you (Vodafone) to appear only. You go and appear and put your representation there. Let them pass order," the bench said.

Earlier, the I-T Department had issued a notice to Vodafone in March saying penal action would be initiated against the British telecom major in the tax case.

Vodafone in 2007 had purchased 67% stake of Hutchison in Hutchison-Essar for over $11 billion. The I-T Department had raised a demand of about $2 billion on Vodafone as it failed to deduct (withhold) tax at the time of stake purchase.

The I-T Department had on 23rd March sought to penalise Vodafone International, the holding company of Vodafone Essar, for failure to present Cayman Island income tax returns and certain other documents.

The I-T Department had asked for these documents between January and October 2009.

Earlier, the apex court had directed Vodafone to submit Rs2,500 crore and along with a bank guarantee worth Rs8,500 in the Rs11,000 crore tax demand by the IT officials.

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SC asks Satyam to give Rs617 crore guarantee in tax dispute

The Supreme Court said the accounts of the company will be defreezed subject to payment of a bank guarantee of Rs617 crore before its registry by 25th April

New Delhi: The Supreme Court today directed Mahindra Satyam to make its presentation before the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) relating to its tax dispute within two weeks, and also asked it to furnish a bank guarantee of Rs617 crore by 25th April, reports PTI.

"Within two weeks the petitioner company (Mahindra Satyam) would file a comprehensive petition making its representation before the CBDT giving all requisite information for re-assessment of income for year 2003-2004 to 2008-09," the bench said.

"On the receipt of representation, CBDT would hear and decide the matter within two weeks," the bench added. The court also said the CBDT while passing its order would give proper reasons for it.

The Supreme Court also said the accounts of the company will be defreezed subject to payment of a bank guarantee of Rs617 crore before its registry by 25th April.

The apex body also made it clear that "the chairman of Mahindra Satyam would file an undertaking within 48 hours before the registry of the Supreme Court that the company would file the bank guarantee by 25th April."

Mahindra Satyam also informed the Supreme Court that it will withdraw the petition filed against Tax Department in the Andhra Pradesh high court challenging its direction to pay tax.

The Supreme Court also made it clear that if Mahindra Satyam is not satisfied with the order which would be passed by CBDT, it can challenge it before the apex court.

Last year, the I-T department had served a notice to Mahindra Satyam, demanding an audit of its accounts for the assessment years 2003-04 to 2008-09 as the company was found guilty of illegally claiming tax credit on fictitious income during the period.

Satyam Computer Services, which was hit my a multi-crore fraud committed its owner Ramalinga Raju, was taken over by the Mahindra group in 2009 and rechristened as Mahindra Satyam.

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Food inflation at 8.28% for the week ended 2nd April

This is the third consecutive week of decline in food inflation. The lowest level of food inflation as seen in 2010 was on 20th November when it stood at 8.60%

New Delhi: Food inflation fell to the year's low of 8.28% for the week ended 2nd April, from 9.18% in the previous week, as prices of certain essential items, like pulses and wheat, declined. This is the third consecutive week of decline in food inflation, reports PTI.

The lowest level of food inflation as seen in 2010 was on 20th November when it stood at 8.60%.

During the week under review, prices of pulses fell by 4.76%. Also potato and wheat became cheaper by 2.73% and 1.05% respectively on an annual basis, official data released show.

However, other food items continued to exhibit an upward trend in terms of the rate of price rise.

Fruits became dearer by 24.14% year-on-year, while eggs, meat and fish became 11.02% more expensive during the week under review. Milk was up by 4.05%.

On an annual basis, cereals became dearer by 3.49%, while rice and wheat were up by 2.20%.

Vegetables were up by 5.41%, led by onion whose prices went up by 7.74%.

During the week under review, inflation in non-food articles was 26.77%. Fibres became dearer by 86.74%, while fuel and power was up by 12.97%.

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