CHENNAI: After a series of media reports over the past two days had reported that a Delhi Court had summoned SpiceJet's erstwhile Chairman Kalanithi Maran and one other company officer in a case of tax evasion, Kalanithi Maran came our with a statement today that said that neither he, nor SpiceJet, were 'tax dodgers.'
"The companies of the Sun Group collectively and me in my personal capacity pay more than Rs 600 crores as taxes annually to the national exchequer. There have been several occasions when tax authorities have awarded trophies and honored 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 of his five point statement. It was an effort to 'set the record straight' he added.
Maran went on to say that SpiceJet, while it was owned by Maran was the only company that the group had found difficult to pay timely taxes for in 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 yesterday in response to a BSE request for clarification to SpiceJet, whose company officials had responded with the same statement. "There are no tax payments pending," said Maran.
However, a Delhi Court on Tuesday, the had summoned Maran and one other official as accused in two tax evasion cases for their alleged failure to deposit over Rs 147 crore TDS with the income tax (IT) department.
Maran also stated that even if there had been a case of non payment of taxes, he would not have known about it 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," said Maran.
In conclusion, Maran said that this was just another of a series of malicious stories and cases filed against him and the Sun Group.
"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, concluding with, "Given that the Sun group companies 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."