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Private airline SpiceJet under I-T scanner for TDS violations

‘There are some violations that we are looking into. Action is to recover the tax, then penal interest and some penalty will also be there,’ CBDT chairman K V Chowdary told reporters here.

He was responding to the queries on reports of non- disbursement of Form-16 by the Kalanithi Maran-controlled, loss-making carrier.

Chowdary declined to reveal the amount due by the airline to the I-T Department saying that ‘it is not appropriate to disclose the amount’.

On reports that the airline was yet to pay the Income Tax department, the tax collected from its employees, a SpiceJet spokesperson had earlier said: ‘These matters are privileged and cannot be discussed in the media. We are well aware of our obligations under the applicable law but we are answerable only to the appropriate statutory authorities.’

The department is currently looking into ‘violations of TDS’, Chowdary said.

Also, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has ordered an engineering audit of the airline after the carrier is said to have found it difficult to provide equipment to operate some flights.

Replying to a query on Nokia tax issue, Chowdary said it was pending before courts and assessing officials of the I-T Department.

‘The (Nokia) matter is partly still pending before court and partly pending before the assessing officers. If there are no stays by any court before the end of this year all the assessments will be completed,’ the taxman said. Nokia, which completed sale of its handset business to Microsoft for over $7.2 billion, could not sell its Chennai manufacturing plant to the software giant as it is embroiled in a tax dispute with the I-T Department and the Tamil Nadu government.

Meanwhile Kingfisher Airlines Ltd has been asked by a consumer court here to pay over Rs 45,000 to a family for failing to refund their cancelled tickets even after seven years. New Delhi District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, presided by C K Chaturvedi, asked the company to pay Rs 45,792 to Delhi-based family comprising Sandeep Sharma, Navdeep Sharma, Monika Sharma and Poonam Sharma.

The forum’s bench, also comprising its member S R Chaudhary, passed the order while noting that even after seven years, the company had not returned fare of Rs 20,792 for the cancelled tickets.

‘...the complainant has been put to such a harassment and litigation that he is till waiting for return of such small sum of Rs 20,792. The Opposite Party (airlines company) on day one should have offered the fare in court, rather contesting the matter like a suit.

‘The complainants were certainly put to inconveniences, harassment by cancellation of flight and to manage again thereafter,’ it said.

While noting that flight was cancelled due to bad weather, the forum said it was strange that a lame excuse was being taken to deny refund of fare to complainants.

‘We hold Opposite Party (OP) guilty of deficiency in not efficiently returning the fare of Rs 20,792 in time. We direct OP to return this amount...and also pay the compensation of Rs 25,000 for deficiency in delay, harassment, mental agony and litigation expenses for the last seven years,’ the forum said.

The complainant had told the forum that they had booked tickets from Delhi to Srinagar on 7 December, 2007, in one of company’s flight.

However, it later got cancelled but fare money wasn’t refunded despite an assurance.

The company, however, contended before the forum that it is a new entity after merger with Deccan Aviation Ltd into it, and thus its system has no records of earlier reservations.
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