Madras High Court quashes I-T order against Kalanithi Maran over SpiceJet

The Madras High Court today set aside a 2014 Income Tax department order declaring Kalanithi Maran as the principal officer of the low-cost carrier SpiceJet and making him liable for the alleged tax dues of the company when it was owned by him.

Justice M Duraiswamy allowed a petition by Maran challenging the November 3, 2014 order of the I-T department related to various financial years when the company was under his ownership.

The I-T department had not produced any material to establish that Maran was responsible for the day-to-day affairs of the SpiceJet, the judge said in his order.

“The main criteria to treat a person as the Principal Officer is that he should have been involved in the management, administration and day-to-day affairs of his company,” he said.

Stating that unless the I-T department make out prima facie case against Maran of his liability and obligation as principal officer of the company under section 278 B of the I-T Act, he could not be prosecuted for the offences committed by the company, he added.

During the hearing of the petition earlier, counsel for Maran had submitted he was only the non-executive chairman and not involved in the company’s day-to-day affairs.

Maran had sold SpiceJet to Ajay Singh in 2015.

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