CHENNAI: The normally reclusive Kalanithi Maran came out with a statement on Thursday to clear the air surrounding the allegations of SpiceJet TDS evasion case filed in a Delhi court.
He and the group were “not tax dodgers,” the media czar said adding that the case appeared to have been motivated by malicious intent since all dues had already been paid by SpiceJet.
“The companies of the Sun Group collectively and me in my personal capacity pay more than Rs 600 crore as taxes annually to the national exchequer. There have been several occasions when tax authorities have awarded trophies and honoured Sun TV Network Ltd with citations for exemplary compliance and for topping the region in terms of highest tax payments. We are not tax dodgers,” said Maran in the first paragragh of his five-point statement. The statement was an effort to ‘set the record straight’, added the reclusive half of the Maran duo.
An agency report, reported on July 21 that Maran and another official had been summoned by a Delhi court in two tax evasion cases for their alleged failure to deposit over Rs 147 crore TDS with the income tax (IT) department.
Maran admitted that SpiceJet, while it was owned by him, was the only company that the group had found difficult to pay timely taxes for 2014. “This was inevitable given the very challenging times faced by the entire airline industry. Despite those hurdles, we had cleared all its dues around February 2015 well before the new promoter took over,” he said. The same had been clarified by the current management of SpiceJet on Wednesday in response to a BSE request. “There are no tax payments pending,” he said.
Maran also said that his inclusion in the case, even in the case of non-payment, was not reasonable since he was only a non-executive chairman of the Board. “It is also very important to bear in mind that I was a non-executive chairman of the board of directors and was never designated as the principal officer of the company. I was never in charge of the day-to-day affairs at SpiceJet Ltd. Therefore, I had no knowledge of the routine operations of the airline nor was I ever responsible for periodic tax compliance,” was his reasoning.
In conclusion, Maran said this was just another of a series of malicious stories and cases filed against him and the Sun Group in recent times.
“It is unfortunate that after almost a period of six months after payment of TDS dues by SpiceJet, a case has been suddenly filed naming me as an accused, despite knowing fully well that I am not in charge of the day-to-day operations of SpiceJet,” he said.
“Given that the Sun group and I have been the topic of several malicious and misleading stories fed to the print media by certain people, it appears that this action too may have been motivated by ulterior motives to tarnish the image and reputation of the Sun Group and me,” he concluded.
Sun Stock Rises after HC Reprieve
Chennai: The Madras High Court’s interim order allowing the Sun TV Network to participate in the Phase-III auction process of FM radio channels saw its stocks climb 6.02 per cent on the Bombay Stock Exchange to settle at Rs 273.90 on Thursday. During the day, it surged 7.99 per cent to Rs 279. Sun TV Network currently has 45 radio stations and 33 TV channels. The third phase of the FM radio channel auction is set for July 27 - for which Sun TV Network was disallowed to participate through a notice served on July 19 due to an absence of clearance from the MHA.