Bharti Airtel slapped with Rs 700 Cr duty evasion penalty by Customs

A tax penalty of about Rs 700 crore hovers on Indian mobile carrier giant Bharti Airtel. Business daily The Hindu Business Line reported yesterday Customs, Excise and Service Tax Appellate Tribunal (CESTAT) order was issued a week ago by its Bangalore branch asking Airtel to pay the amount for customs duty evasion. justice According to the newspaper, total due amount includes differential duty liability of Rs 215.51 crore, excluding penalty of similar amount and redemption fine of Rs 189 crore for confiscated goods. More to this, CESTAT has also levied an interest on the duty liability on a per year basis. Business Line claims to have see the documents and writes the case alleges “undervaluation of the imported goods and non-inclusion of the value of software in the imported goods.” The documents reveal that the carrier imported mobile telecom equipment by splitting software and hardware value. It states that first hardware were imported undervaluing it to the extent of software value and later software were imported in dummy and stored in warehouse so that the hardware were ready to use with embedded software. In 2004 Bangalore office of Bharti Airtel were searched based on intelligence report. A case has been booked by Bangalore customs and if Bharti Airtel now wants to appeal, it needs to knock the doors of Supreme Court, said Government official. Airtel spokesperson said the company is yet to receive a copy of the order.

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