Depute law officer to probe NDTV tax case, Swamy urges FM

MUMBAI: Rajya Sabha MP Subramanian Swamy has recommended through his Twitter handle that the finance ministry should field a Law Officer with the integrity to challenge NDTV's income tax case of Rs.525 cr failing which it would have to face protest by him (Swamy.

Earlier, NDTV published what it calls a 'statement of facts' on income tax case. NDTV states: This entire issue relates to a blatantly false case. In 2008, GE (USA) invested $150 million in NDTV through their media subsidiary NBC (USA).

Six years later, in 2014, the Income Tax Department of India - without any evidence at all - called this investment a "sham transaction", thereby accusing GE and NBC of being "fronts" or "name-lenders" for "money-laundering". The Income Tax Department is in effect accusing the CEOs of GE and NBC of a crime for which, under US law, they will go to jail, if convicted. The CEOs involved in the deal are Jeff Immelt (CEO of GE who has met PM Modi on several occasions, including recently) and Jeff Zucker (former CEO of NBC and now President of CNN).

This behaviour by the IT department is damaging for India and deeply harms the reputation of our country internationally at a time when we are trying to pitch India as an ideal place to do business, NDTV stated.

For the Income Tax Department to call some of the world's most respected business leader like Immelt and Zucker 'money launderers' amounts to what is widely known as "Tax Terrorism". On this accusation, NDTV is being continuously harassed as part of a concerted effort to silence an Indian media house that has always stood and fought for independent journalism - despite repeated threats and intimidation.

NDTV has appealed against the case. It has not been heard for two-and-a-half years as the income tax authorities have asked for no less than 20 adjournments. Since the first hearing, NDTV has not asked for a single adjournment. It suits the tax department to have this case drag on since it has no evidence of its wild and unsubstantiated allegations. The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has clearly told the Delhi High Court that while complaints against NDTV have been received, the allegations were not supported by even prima facie material, NDTV stated.

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