New Delhi : In their first engagement with the new government, Finnish mobile handset maker Nokia officials met Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in a bid to resolve the over Rs 21,000-crore tax dispute.

Finland-based Nokia was forced to abandon plans to include its Chennai plant in the sale of the handset business to software giant Microsoft, completed in April, because of the tax dispute.  Nokia Group Executive Vice-President and Group CEO Timo Ihamuotila, along with other company officials, met Sitharaman, who is also the Minister of State for Finance.  “The company has raised their tax issue which they are facing in India,” sources told PTI.

After the meeting, a Nokia official said: “We are a very strong company in India. We have more than 16,000 employees here and we are pleased to be here.”    Sources also said the Finnish firm may be looking for approval to sell the Chennai plant to pay its tax dues.   The Income Tax Department had informed the Delhi High Court that Nokia India and Nokia Corporation owed Rs 21,153 crore as total tax liability (existing and anticipated), including penalty during 2006-13.

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