Mumbai Matinee: I-T Dept Still Waits For Rs 29,000-cr Tax Dues

Mumbai, November 4 | Updated: Nov 5 2003, 05:30am hrs
Its not without reason that Mumbai is called the financial capital of the country. Even in terms of income-tax arrears, the city has topped the charts, with a staggering Rs 28,849 crore pending since 1991.

Former big bull Harshad Mehta, with tax arrears of Rs 5,137.97 crore, AD Narottam (Rs 3,573.09 crore), Hiten Dalal (Rs 2,026.57 crore), Triumph International Finance (Rs 1,233.92 crore), Harshads wife Jyoti (Rs 1,156.27 crore) and IDBI (Rs 1,152.69 crore) are among the top 100 arrear cases in the Mumbai region which are being pursued by the income-tax (I-T) department. Ironically, as much as Rs 28,848.60 crore are the tax dues to be recovered from these 100 top defaulters, pending since 1991.

In its comprehensive presentation to the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee, I-T department says a substantial portion is locked up in appeal and in some cases, the assessees do not have any liquid assets and the directors are also not traceable. Hence recovery has become difficult.

As far as Harshad Mehta is concerned, according to the I-T department, this case relates to the multi-crore securities scam and the recovery matter is pending before the special court. Harshad Mehta also owes Rs 226.95 crore. However, the recovery matter pertaining to this, too, is pending before the special court. Similarly, cases involving AD Narottam, Hiten Dalal and Jyoti Mehta fall under the same category. AD Narottam also owes Rs 187 crore to the I-T department and the recovery is pending before the special court.

Hiten Dalals name also figures a second time in the same list for the arrears of Rs 35.34 crore as the matter is pending before the special court.

Of the Rs 1,233.92 crore of arrears due from Triumph International Finance, the demand of Rs 680.84 crore has not fallen due as the block assessment was made on September 26, 2003. The balance demand of Rs 553 crore is under dispute before the present Commissioner I-T (appeal) (C) VII.

The assessees failure to comply with the terms of the instalment allowed resulted in the issue of notices under section 226 (3) on sundry debtors, attachment of bank accounts and fixed deposits. The recovery proceedings are proceeded with keeping in mind the appeal before the Commissioner I-T (appeal), litigation before the Debt Recovery Tribunal (DRT), the National Stock Exchange.

In case of IDBI, of the total arrears of Rs 1,152.69 crore for various assessment years, Rs 655.87 crore has been stayed by passing an order under section 220 (6) on August 16, 2002. Regarding the balance demand of Rs 496.82 crore, the stay petition of the assessee has been rejected and the assessee was granted five instalments to pay the demand. However, the assessee failed to respect the instalment scheme.

Further, the I-T department has yet to recover Rs 942.93 crore from S Ramaswamy, Rs 742.35 crore from BC Dalal, Rs 615.40 crore from Ashwin Mehta (Harshads brother) on the grounds that these cases relate to the security scam of 1991 and recovery matter is pending before the special court.

Nearly, Rs 699.06 crore have been locked up with GTC Ltd. The additional Commissioner IT 8(1) has sent a requisition on August 22, 2003, to the Commissioner of Excise, Adjudication, New Delhi, requesting him to furnish all the details regarding the assessee company so that the remand report could be sent at the earliest.

The Board for Industrial and Financial Reconstruction (BIFR) declared GTC Ltd sick through its order on April 3, 1997. Subsequently, the department filed an appeal against the BIFR order before the Appellate Authority for Industrial and Financial Reconstruction (AAIFR), but the appeal was dismissed.

Of Rs 618.51 crore involving Triumph Securities Pvt Ltd, the demand of Rs 305.38 crore pertaining to block assessment has not fallen due. The assessee is in appeal for demand of Rs 313.13 crore before Commissioner IT (appeal) (C) VII. Failure of the assessee to comply with the terms of the instalment scheme resulted in initiation of recovery proceedings by way of issue of notices under section 226 (3), attachment of bank accounts, membership certificate with The Stock Exchange, Mumbai. The recovery proceedings are resorted to keeping in mind the various factors governing the case.