Cairn Vitality seeks $1.four bn in losses from retro tax demand

New Delhi, September 29

British oil explorer Cairn Energy Plc on Tuesday said it is seeking from the Indian government $1.4 billion (about Rs 10,300 crore) in losses arising from the expropriation of its investments to enforce a retrospective tax demand.

The case file

  • Cairn Energy received a notice from the Income Tax Department in January 2014, raising a preliminary assessment of Rs10,247-crore tax liability relating to the group reorganisation done in 2006

  • Alongside, the department attached the company’s near 10% shareholding in its erstwhile subsidiary, Cairn India.

In its half-yearly earnings statement, the company said it expects an international arbitral tribunal to shortly give a decree on its challenge to the Indian government seeking Rs 10,247 crore in retrospective taxes.

“The main evidentiary hearing of Cairn’s claim under the (UK-India Bilateral Investment) Treaty took place in August 2018 in The Hague with a final hearing in December 2018. All formal hearings and submissions have now been made and the tribunal is in the process of drafting its award,” the firm said.

The tribunal, it said, has indicated that “it expects to be in a position to issue the award after the end of the summer of 2020, with no significant delay expected as a result of Covid-19.” Cairn said it is seeking “full restitution for losses of more than $1.4 billion resulting from the expropriation of its investments in India in 2014; continued attempts to enforce retrospective tax measures; and the failure to treat the company and its investments fairly and equitably.” This is the second most high- profile retrospective tax litigation. Last week, an international arbitration tribunal ruled that India’s efforts to claim Rs 22,100 crore in past taxes from Vodafone Group were in breach of fair treatment under the bilateral investment protection pact between the south Asian nation and the Netherlands. — PTI

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