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Vaish boosts indirect tax with two lawyers from former merger target

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four-lions-india

Vaish Associates has recruited two indirect tax law practitioners from Lakshmi Kumaran & Sridharan in a bid to expand its indirect tax law practice.

Lakshmi Kumaran senior consultant Vishwanath Shukla and senior associate Shashank Shekhar have joined Vaish as senior associates.

Shukla is now heading Vaish's excise and custom tax department and Shekhar is a part of the firm's service tax department. Both have between six and eight years of experience in the areas of excise, customs and service tax.

Shukla joined that firm in 2002 and Shekhar in 2006 and they both left to join Vaish Associates in September.

Vaish Associates is one of the largest firms in direct tax matters with over 40 lawyers and around 15 lawyers active in the indirect tax field.

Lakshmi Kumaran & Sridharan is one of the largest indirect tax specialist law firm practices in India, with around 75 indirect tax staff in its Delhi head office according to a source.

Sources have confirmed that the two firms were close to merging in April 2008 but that the merger fell through.

The firms declined to comment on the reasons of the break-down in talks, which at the time were greeted with interest by the tax advising community.

Vaish' direct tax practice team in Delhi is headed by three partners: O P Vaish, Vinay Vaish and Ajay Vohra.

Its indirect tax team was started in 1994 with Shammi Kapoor as its head.

The team is understood to currently be engaged in a study group formed to evaluate Goods and Service Tax (GST) proposed to be implemented in 2010 by the Government.

GST is likely to come out with rates that are revenue neutral, creating a tax applicable on both a national and state level, which will lead to synchronisation of service tax and VAT, as well as the abolition of taxes like octroi, local area development tax and other taxes of a similar nature.

The two firms and hires declined to comment when contacted.

AZB & Partners has also recently hired an indirect tax partner in Delhi from consultancy KPMG, expecting to target the GST-related workstream.

In August Vaish has also expanded into the competition space with the hire of former Competition Commission of India (CCI) registrar M M Sharma.

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