Vodafone India chairman Analjit Singh meets FM

Vodafone India Chairman Analjit Singh on Tuesday expressed the strong desire of his company to settle the tax dispute matter with the government and wants an amicable settlement of the issue.

Talking to newsmen after meeting Finance Minister, P. Chidambaram here, Mr. Singh said he was hopeful of another meeting with the Finance Minister next week. ``Vodafone is highly desirous and keen to settle the tax matter,’’ Mr. Singh remarked. This is the first time that a top official from Vodafone has met Mr. Chidambaram, after the government decided to settle the Rs. 11,217 crore tax issue through conciliation.

While Vodafone had shown keenness to go in for conciliation under the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) law, India has proposed settlement under the Indian Arbitration and Conciliation Act. Vodafone is facing tax liability of over Rs. 11,217 crore including interest, on its 2007 acquisition of Hutchison Whampoa's stake in Hutchison Essar. The Supreme Court last year had ruled in Vodafone's favour, saying the Britain-based company was not liable to pay any tax over its 2007 acquisition of mobile phone assets in India.

The government later that year changed the rules to enable it to make retroactive tax claims on already-concluded deals, drawing criticism from global business groups. Following that, the Income Tax Department issued a letter in January to Vodafone International Holdings BV stating that the company is required to pay tax demand of about Rs. 11,217 crore along with interest. However, Vodafone replied saying that they do not owe anything to the Indian Government.

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