Rs 2,500-3,000-cr default suspected

Income-tax officials conducted a day-long survey at Nokia's Sriperumbudur plant on Tuesday for possible tax default by the Finnish telecom major’s Indian subsidiary. Globally, the plant is one of the largest for Nokia.

While full details of the survey at Nokia were not known, a senior I-T Department official on condition of anonymity told Business Line that “there is a suspicion of tax default to the extent of Rs 2,500-3,000 crore by Nokia India”.

“We have started this verification since this morning,” he said. Certain provisions of the law are being interpreted differently by the company, he said.

The survey in Nokia comes two days after the I-T Department sent out a reminder to British telecom major Vodafone to pay up taxes on the capital gains arising from its $11.2-billion offshore deal with Hutchison Whampoa in 2007. The reminder letter refers to tax dues of Rs 14,000 crore, including interest on delayed payment, media reports said earlier.

Nokia India confirmed that I-T officials were surveying the plant since morning.

“Nokia is fully cooperating to ensure they get the necessary information to help in their inquiry,” said the statement.

As a global company, Nokia consistently fields a large and steady number of tax queries, audits and assessments, the statement said.

The Sriperumbudur plant, located nearly 40 km west off Chennai, manufactures over 20 different models, including its Asha range of devices.

While Nokia has been present in India since 1995, it set up its manufacturing plant in 2006.

Nokia has invested over $300 million at the 210-acre plant in Sriperumbudur, which is located on the Chennai-Bangalore National Highway. With production of over 500 million units in six years, this is the largest Nokia production facility. It employs 9,000 people, 70 per cent of whom are women.

raja.simhan@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on January 8, 2013)
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