Executives from British telecom giant Vodafone on Friday met senior finance ministry officials, including finance secretary Arvind Mayaram, for an amicable resolution to the Rs 20,000-crore tax dispute. Led by director, external affairs, Matthew Kirk, the Vodafone officials also discussed their future investment plans in India.
Sources said that the meeting was to understand the way the new NDA government views the tax case and gauge how does it want to proceed with it. "It was a courtesy call...But we got the impression that they (Vodafone) are of the view nothing is cast in stone," said a person briefed about the telecom major's discussions with the finance ministry officials.
Finance secretary Arvind Mayaram said Vodafone executives came to discuss their further investment possibilities in India. "They said they are very enthused by the way the new government has set policy priorities. Once Vodafone finalises their investment plans, they would share them with us," Mayaram told FE.
Vodafone on April 17 issued an arbitration notice to the Indian government to resolve the dispute arising from its 2007 purchase of Hutch Essar for $11 billion on which the government has demanded capital gains tax. Friday's meetings gave the impression that the company was open for friendly settlement, sources said.
Vodafone India is reportedly planning to raise more capital from its British parent after India set a global precedent in auditing cross-border capital subscription deals under transfer pricing norms.