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HC sets aside Rs 2,400-cr tax notice to Finnish MNC Nokia

Justice B Rajendran, who allowed the petitions filed by Nokia challenging the Sales Tax Department assessment for the period 2009-10, 2010-11, 2011-12 and slapping notice for Rs 2,400 crore TNVAT, set aside the order and directed the company to deposit 10 per cent of the tax demand amounting Rs 240 crore within eight weeks ‘as a precondition to review the assessments’.

The Judge also directed the Deputy Commissioner (CT) of Enforcement (South) to give an opportunity to Nokia for hearing, peruse the documents and then pass orders on ‘merits’ in accordance with the law upholding the handset makers’ contention that the order was passed without being heard. The Judge, while declaring that the demand notices issued by the authorities are still valid, in his order said, ‘The effect of quashing the assessment orders will not totally take away the right of the authorities to proceed further in this matter.’

The Judge rejected the contention of Advocate General A L Somayaji that there was no need to give personal hearing and observed, ‘When such an opportunity of hearing is specifically sought, it has to be extended to the petitioner. Non-consideration of the same vitiates the impugned orders.’ The Tamil Nadu Government had slapped the Rs 2,400 crore tax notice accusing Nokia of evading tax but the company disputed the claim. On March 28 Nokia moved the High Court and prayed for restraining the Sales Taxes Department from taking any ‘coercive steps’ in any manner whatsoever in pursuance of the impugned order.

The state government had issued the notice to Nokia charging that it had been selling the products produced from the Chennai plant to the domestic market instead of shipping them overseas. The Nokia management said the claim was ‘baseless’.

Bharti Airtel dials 89% surge in Q4 profit to Rs 962 crore


New Delhi: Bharti Airtel, India’s biggest mobile-phone company, on Tuesday reported a 89 per cent jump in its fourth-quarter consolidated net profit on rise in call charges and higher revenue from data business.

Bharti posted a net profit of Rs 962 crore in January-March as against a Rs 509 crore earning in the same period last year. ‘Consolidated mobile data revenues at Rs 1,900 crore grew by 93.4 per cent year-on-year, accounting for more than one-third of the growth,’ the company said in a statement.
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