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Bishwajit Bhattacharyya

27 June 2014

Former additional solicitor general and senior advocate Bishwajit Bhattacharyya has filed a public interest litigation (PIL) in the Supreme Court, seeking to get India to pay up its tax bill under a retrospective amendment passed in 2012 by the then-government, reported the Economic Times.

Bhattacharyya in a column in The Statesman on 5 June 2014 had written that allowing Vodafone to get away without paying the Rs 20,000 crore tax demand, including penalty and interest, would be a “subversion of rule of law”. The amount could well be $4bn soon if “the rupee continues to induce bullish sentiments”, he wrote, and Vodafone’s “inaction” in paying the bill for 27 months has been “stunning and brazen”.

The government had retrospectively amended India’s tax laws after Vodafone won exemption from paying the tax following its acquisition of Hutchison’s India assets.

Last month Vodafone and the government began embarking on settling the dispute in international arbitration.