Pranab lauds IT handling of Vodafone case

Union finance minister Pranab Mukherjee has praised the ''efforts and professional competence'' of the income tax department in handling the Vodafone tax dispute efficiently in all the forums.

The Mumbai income tax authorities expect to collect Rs2,500 crore in taxes on accounts from the ongoing Vodafone case. The collection would help the department achieve its tax collection target for this fiscal, a department press release said on Saturday.

British Telecom giant Vodafone, which is contesting the Rs11,000 tax demand from the department, had been directed by the Supreme Court to deposit Rs2,500 crore along with a bank guarantee of Rs8,500 crore before it.

The apex court would start its final hearing in this matter from 5 February 2011.

At a review meeting involving the chief commissioner of income tax, the director-general of income tax (investigations), commissioners of income tax in Mumbai, and central board of direct taxes (CBDT) chairman S S N Moorthy, Mukherjee exhorted the tax officers to put their best foot forward to achieve the budget collection target fixed for the Mumbai region.

In 2008, the then finance minister P Chidambaram had said that Mumbai accounted for nearly a third of the country's direct tax collections.