SC refuses to stay HC verdict on tax demand from Vodafone

New Delhi: The Supreme Court today refused to offer any immediate relief to Vodafone, which has challenged the Bombay High Court order allowing the government to tax the company's $11 billion deal with Hutch, reports PTI.

The tax department had raised a demand for Rs12,000 crore as tax on the 2007 deal.

While refusing to stay the high court order, the apex court issued notices to the tax authorities directing them to decide within four weeks the liabilities of Vodafone.

"Pending the hearing and further orders, we direct the tax deducted at source (TDS) officer to decide within four weeks from today on the tax liability," a bench headed by Chief Justice S H Kapadia said while issuing a notice to the income tax (I-T) Department.

However, the bench refused the plea of Vodafone's counsel and senior advocate Harish Salve seeking a stay on the high court judgment, saying that it would have to deposit a part of the tax demand amount first.

"If you want a stay on the high court judgment... You have to pay part of the amount. The choice is yours," the bench said while asking the counsel not to press for the stay.

The court has scheduled the next hearing on the matter on 25th October and said on the basis of this order; liberty was given to the petitioner (Vodafone) to approach the court for an appropriate remedy.

Attorney General G Vahanvati, appearing on behalf of the government, said the department will pass an order within four weeks determining the liability of the telecom major.

Mr Vahanvati contended that the court could only pass an order staying the judgment if the telecom major deposited 50% of its liability.

Earlier, Vodafone International had moved the apex court against the high court order, which dismissed its petition challenging the Indian tax authority's demand for Rs12,000 crore in taxes on the Hutchison deal.

The division of the high court had held that the I-T Department has the jurisdiction to tax the transaction.

"The transaction has a sufficient nexus with India and the I-T (Department) has the jurisdiction to levy tax on the transaction," said the high court verdict.

Hutchison's telecom business in India comprised a substantial chuck of its overall business and the deal enabled Vodafone to enter the Indian market in a big way.

The high court, however, gave liberty to Vodafone to argue before the tax department that no penalty should be imposed, as they genuinely believed they had no liability to deduct tax at source while making payment to Hutchison.

The department held Vodafone liable for not deducting tax at source on capital gains from the Hutchison acquisition and claimed around Rs 12,000 crore in tax and penalty for the 2007 deal.


Emerging economies can grow without growth in US: Montek

Kuala Lumpur: Emerging economies can expand at a “reasonable pace” in the next four to five years even if the growth in developed nations is moderate, reports PTI quoting Planning Commission deputy chairman, Montek Singh Ahluwalia.

India’s economy is forecast to grow by 8.5% this year, he said in his keynote address at the World Capital Markets Symposium organised by Malaysia’s Securities Commission.

However, he expressed the hope that India’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate will go up to 9% in the near future. He said developing countries will be able to maintain strong economic growth rates, even though the primary drivers have slowed down.

Mr Ahluwalia also noted that India needed to pump in a lot more into its infrastructure development programme.

Commenting on the state of the world economy, he said that growth was anaemic and there were fears of a global slowdown. He noted that growth in the US, the world’s biggest economy, has been sputtering, but emerging markets were doing well.


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Infrastructure and security costs suck up a lot of money. And one reason for Greece’s financial debacle could be the cost of holding the 2004 Athens Olympics.



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