Six Indian telecom operators charged with tax fraud for hiding revenue worth Rs. 46,000 crore


pic1NEW DELHI/KOLKATA: The national auditor alleged on Friday that six telecom operators — Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India, Idea Cellular, Reliance Communications, Tata Teleservices and Aircel — had collectively understated gross revenue amounting to Rs 46,045.75 crore between 2006-07 and 2009-10, causing a loss of Rs 12,488.93 crore to the national exchequer. The companies rejected the accusation.

This, in turn, has prompted the government to initiate a special audit for three years to FY11, with Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad calling it “a legacy issue of the previous government” that he is “trying to clean up”. It may be recalled that one of the scandals that led to the defeat of the United Progressive Alliance government stemmed from a report by the Comptroller & Auditor General of India (CAG) into spectrum allotments.

“I’ve taken a serious note of it. Though the CAG report will go to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), whose recommendations will be final after approval by the House, the telecom department (DoT) will take a special audit for three years (2008-09, 2009-10, 2010-11) to discover if any outstanding dues are required to be paid by telcos,” Prasad said.