Top 100 tax defaulters owe Rs 1.4 lakh crore
New Delhi, Aug. 5 Just 100 tax defaulters owed the Government a whopping Rs 1.4 lakh crore as on March 31, 2009.
Mr Hassan Ali Khan, Pune-based real estate operator and horse racing enthusiast, with an alleged tax liability of Rs 50,345.73 crore, has earned the dubious distinction of topping the list. The late Harshad Mehta of the 1992 stocks scam fame still owes Rs 12,719.14 crore. BSNL owes Rs 2,417.85 crore.
Ms Chandrika Tapuriah, wife of a Kolkata-based businessman, Mr Kashinath Tapuriah, had Rs 20,540.83 crore against her. Mr Kashinath, reportedly a partner of Mr Khan, also figured with a liability of Rs 602.8 crore.
The others in the list, released by the Minister of State for Finance, Mr S.S. Palanimanickam, in the Rajya Sabha, include disgraced stockbrokers Mr A. D. Narottam (Rs 5,781.86 crore) and Mr Hiten Dalal (Rs 4,200.04 crore). In addition, Mr Narottam also owed Rs 195.25 crore under wealth tax outstanding demands, while Harshad Mehta's wealth tax dues were Rs 431.93 crore. Also in the list were Mr Ashwin S. Mehta (Rs 1,595.51 crore) and Mr B.C. Dalal (Rs 1,535.89 crore).
Among corporates, Sahara India Financial Corporation ranked sixth with arrears of Rs 3,063.58 crore.
The other firms are Sahara India (Rs 1,945.8 crore), Sahara Airlines (Jet Lite India - Rs 850 crore), IDBI (Rs 964.12 crore), NTPC Ltd (Rs 622.18 crore), Coca-Cola India (Rs 600 crore), Oracle Corporation (Rs 558.54 crore), VSNL (Rs 507.55 crore), SBI (Rs 333.65 crore), Satyam Computer Services (Rs 290 crore), Tata Industries (Rs 251 crore), Tata Motors (Rs 206.55 crore), IBM (Rs 208 crore).
The outstanding demands include those not recovered for various reasons such as demand notified under Special Court, inadequate assets and companies under litigation, the Minister said.
Mr Ajay Kumar, Executive Director, PricewaterhouseCoopers, told Business Line that if the dispute is purely on legal points, generally the courts have favoured the assessees. But regarding concealment of income, the Tax Department stands a winning chance if it has built up a good case on the basis of data and declared investments.
"While compliance level and recovery is good in developed countries, it is poor in India due to the inordinate delays in the legal procedures," he added.
On its part, to expedite the recovery of the default amount, the Government has set up a task force to monitor the recovery of huge amounts. The Government has also decided to identify cases involving substantial amount pending before the Income-Tax Commissioner (Appeals) and the Income-Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT) to dispose of appeals early.
It has also requested the Settlement Commission to dispose of high demand cases expeditiously.