In a temporary relief to Vijay Mallya, owner of Kingfisher Airlines, the Karnataka High Court stayed for eight weeks three separate criminal proceedings initiated by the Special Court for Economic Offences, Bangalore, on complaints filed by the Income Tax Department for not remitting tax deducted at source (TDS) to the government.

Justice K.N. Keshavanarayana, on Monday, passed the interim order on three separate petitions filed by the company and Mr. Mallya, questioning the proceedings before the Special Court.

The Special Court, in February 2013, took cognisance of the offence under Section 276 B and 278 B of the I-T Act, 1962 for not remitting Rs. 74.94 crore deducted by the company as TDS from the salaries of its employees for the financial year 2009 –10, and the interest of Rs. 23.7 crore levied for not remitting the amount within the period stipulated by the law.

Similarly, the Special Court took cognisance against the company and Mr. Mallya for allegedly not remitting the TDS, including non-salary categories, for the two subsequent financial years.

However, Mr. Mallya claimed that the provision for criminal prosecution could not be invoked by the department when the quantum of TDS from salaries is under dispute before the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal and the High Court.

Besides, it has been claimed in the petitions that the department had proceeded to file complaints without freshly quantifying the TDS amount as the company had paid a certain amount subsequent to assessment.

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