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Summons unfortunate, we are not tax dodgers: Kalanithi Maran

Maran added that in fact on various occasions, tax authorities had honoured Sun TV Network for making highest tax payment in the region.

Chennai: Terming the summons issued by a Delhi court in tax cases related to SpiceJet as "unfortunate", Sun Group Chairman Kalanithi Maran on Thursday said he and his company were not "tax dodgers".

Maran added that in fact on various occasions, tax authorities had honoured Sun TV Network for making highest tax payment in the region.

Recently, a Delhi court summoned SpiceJet as well as its ex-chairman Kalanithi Maran and former managing director S Natrajhen in two tax evasion cases for their alleged failure to deposit over Rs 147 crore TDS with the Tax Department.

"The companies of the Sun Group collectively and me in my personal capacity pay more than Rs 600 crore as taxes annually to the national exchequer," Maran said in a statement on Thursday.

He termed the summons as "unfortunate" that after "almost six month period after payment of TDS dues by SpiceJet, a case has been suddenly filed naming me as an accused, despite knowing that I am not in charge of the day-to-day operations of SpiceJet".

"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," Maran added.

There have been several occasions when tax authorities have awarded trophies and honoured Sun TV Network Ltd with citations for exemplary compliance and for topping the region in terms of highest tax payments, he said, adding, "We are not tax dodgers."

Maran said low cost-budget air carrier SpiceJet was the only company in the Sun Group that "had difficulty in making timely payments during 2014" as the airline industry faced "challenging times."
"Despite those hurdles, we had cleared all its dues around February well before the new promoter took over.

"It is therefore to be noted that there was no evasion of tax as reported but only a delay in making those remittances," he said.

It has been 'unequivocally' clarified by the current management team at SpiceJet, whose Company Secretary has formally written to BSE that all tax dues have been cleared and that there are no payments pending, he said.

"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," Maran said in the statement.

"Therefore I had no knowledge of the routine operations of the airline nor was I ever responsible for periodic tax compliances," he said.

"I am confident that the Honourable Courts will render justice to us," he said.