Free Press Journal

Vodafone says doors for conciliation not shut on tax row


–Vodafone Analjit: Doors on tax conciliation not shut completely
 –Co “ready to play ball” on tax conciliation
–Minority stake sale in Vodafone is under process

New Delhi: Vodafone India Non-Executive Chairman Analjit Singh today said the Cabinet’s decision to not withdraw the conciliation note in its 200-bln-rupee tax dispute with the finance ministry was a signal that the door for the conciliation was not completely shut.

“I agree…at least the door (for conciliation) is not shut completely…let us see what happens,” Singh told reporters today.

Conciliation is an alternative dispute resolution mechanism, which does not have legal binding on the parties involved and is facilitated through the involvement of a conciliator, which acts as a neutral party.

The tax issue relates primarily to withholding tax on Vodafone’s acquisition of Hutchison Essar’s telecom assets in India.

On Feb 28, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Manish Tewari said that the Cabinet has decided to defer, by a month, decision on a proposal to withdraw from tax conciliation talks with Vodafone Group Plc. Singh, who met the Finance Minister P. Chidambaram today, said that “the company always played ball” when it came to fast track the conciliation process.

On sale of stake in Vodafone, Singh, who is the also the chairman of Max India Group and holds about 6.2% equity stake in Vodafone India through holding companies said minority stake sale in Vodafone is under process Vodafone Group Plc, the parent of Vodafone India also plans to fully own its India arm by acquiring the stake of the minority shareholders including Singh, the due approval for which has been granted by the government. Apart from Singh, Piramal Enterprises Ltd holds about 11% stake in Vodafone India.