The government of India on Thursday said that “all options” on the Vodafone arbitration case are currently “under examination” and that a final decision has not been made on the issue. The clarification was issued by the finance ministry on Thursday after certain media houses reported that the Attorney General (AG) was in favor of not appealing in the Vodafone arbitration case. Vodafone Group in late September won an arbitration case against India’s tax demand rising from a retrospective change in the country’s tax law.
The Permanent Court of Arbitration in late September directed the Indian government to cease the tax demand, interest and penalty against the Vodafone Group. Further, the court directed the government of India to reimburse 60% of Vodafone’s legal cost and 50% of the fees paid by Vodafone to the appointing authority.
It was reported that the government will have to shell out over Rs 80 crores, if it chooses not to appeal the decision. In recent days, news reports emerged that AG had “informally” told the government that it “should avoid filing an appeal” against the arbitration award.
The finance ministry on Thursday said that the news reports were “speculative” and that it was “totally incorrect and without any factual basis.”
“Award along with all options are under examination within the Ministry and further course of action will be decided based on such examination,” the ministry said in its clarification.
Following the development, Vodafone Idea stock on Friday was up nearly 4% in the early hours of the trading session on the Bombay Stock Exchange. However, the stock closed the trading session at Rs 8.03, up 0.50% as compared to its closing price on Thursday.
The Indian government on its part is also dealing with a separate arbitration case involving British oil explorer Cairn Energy. It was said that if a separate arbitration panel were to hold the government’s demand as illegal, then the Indian government will have to shell out around Rs 11,000 crores to Cairn Energy.