New Delhi : The income tax department told the Supreme Court it seeks 70 bln rupees from Sahara as tax deducted at source on 257 bln rupees collected by the company through debentures between 2008-11. The tax department told the court it has filed an application seeking impleadment as a party in the Sahara case in the apex court. The application will be heard Friday along with the main Sahara case.
The apex court bench headed by Justice T.S. Thakur had earlier observed that the total liability of Sahara could go up manifold if income tax department decides to treat all the money collected as unaccounted sum. Sahara group counsel told the court the company will opposed tax department’s application, as the application had been filed only as a fallout of the court’s earlier observation. Sahara’s counsel said even if any tax demands are to be raised, they will first have to be adjudicated in tax tribunals and lower courts before coming to the Supreme Court.
The Sahara group told the court that it had deposited 31.17 bln rupees with the Securities and Exchange Board and sought the court’s permission for selling its three hotels abroad to raise more money for getting group head Subrata Roy released from jail. The apex court had asked Sahara to deposit 50 bln rupees in cash and bank guarantee of another 50 bln rupees with SEBI to secure release of Roy from Tihar jail, where he has been lodged since Mar 4.
Sahara has also filed an application seeking 40 days’ “provisional release” from jail to let Roy manage sale of Indian properties and three iconic hotels–Grosvenor House in London, and Plaza Hotel and Dreams Downtown Hotel in New York.
During the hearing, justice Thakur said there should not be any “mischief” in sale of properties by Sahara, and asked SEBI to suggest measure for it.
“We are concerned that all these transactions should be neat and there are no underhand dealings. We want to ensure there are no mischief,” the bench observed. The court asked Sahara if the properties, including the hotels, could be auctioned for fair sale and valuation. Sahara’s counsel, however, said auctioning the properties “will not work”.
The company said there are complex valuation procedures for sale of such properties and they could not be auctioned. — Cogencis