Last week, the court had asked Nokia to bring a proposal to “find a way out” of the income-tax issues.
The Nokia counsel said he wasn’t aware of the valuation. On being pressed, he said it was Rs 2,700 crore. Subsequently, the judges asked him to present the authoritative figure on Friday. Clarifying they wouldn’t go into the merits of the case at this stage, they said they would try to help both sides.
The revenue authorities told the court despite its request for a proposal, the company had been “dishonest” and didn’t come clean on the figures. Instead, the company was trying to “scare” the government by threatening to abandon the Chennai facility, which had 8,000 workers, the authorities said. The Nokia counsel said the price quoted for the unit was Rs 2,200 crore, adding if the government could get a better price, it was welcome to take over it. “There is no shame or dishonesty; the unit either goes to Microsoft or down the drain.”
The unit accounts for nine per cent of Nokia’s overall business. The authorities said the tax dues were Rs 10,000 crore and, with interest and penalty, Rs 22,000 crore. They said it had taken Rs 3,500 crore out of India as dividend, apart from Rs 15,000 crore under other heads. The Nokia counsel said the global deal with Microsoft would be closed in 20 days, adding initially there were some bureaucratic hitches in China, but those had been resolved.