Court summons SpiceJet, Kalanithi Maran as accused in IT cases

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Budget carrier SpiceJet Ltd, its Chairman Kalanithi Maran and another top company official have been summoned as accused 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.

Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Pritam Singh issued summons to Maran, the company and its Managing Director S Natrajhen after taking cognizance on two complaints filed against them by the IT Department. The court directed them to appear before it on August 21.

“From perusal of complaint, materials available on record, testimony of complainant witness 1 and aforesaid discussions, prima facie disclose commission of offence under sections 276B (if a person fails to pay to the credit of central government the tax deducted at source by him ), 278B (offences by companies) … read with section 278E (presumption as to culpable mental state) of the Income Tax Act for financial year 2013-14 and 2014-15.

“Hence cognizance of the offence is taken in both the complaints,” the court said.

“All accused be summoned for August 21, 2015 in both complaints for commission of offence under sections 276B, 278B read with section 278E of the Income Tax Act for financial year 2013-14 and 2014-15,” the court said.

The IT Department, through advocate Brijesh Garg, filed the two complaints against the three accused with identical allegations and said a survey under the Act was conducted at the business premises of the company on August 4, 2014.

It said that during the survey, it was found that the company had made payments to its deductees and deducted TDS against various payments to the tune of Rs. 110.6 crore during the financial year 2013-14 but failed to deposit the TDS amount within the time frame.

Similarly, the department said that company also made payment to its deductees and deducted TDS against various payments to the tune of Rs. 36.5 crore during the financial year 2014-15 but failed to deposit it in the government account within stipulated period.

The IT officer, who was the complainant in the case, deposed in the court that during the relevant period, Maran was the chairman and Natrajhen was the managing director of the company.

The officer said show cause notices were sent to the accused in September and October 2014 to which they had replied that they were non-executive chairman and managing director of the company for the relevant financial year.

He also testified that during the survey operation, he had recorded the statement of R Neelkanthan, CFO of the company, under which it transpired that it had allegedly defaulted in depositing TDS amount of Rs. 110.6 crore and Rs. 36.5 crore for the financial years 2013-14 and 2014-15 in the government account.