The Ministry of Finance on Wednesday junked reports that claimed the Attorney General of India was in favour of not appealing in the Vodafone arbitration award. In a statement, the ministry said the reports were not correct and that the matter is under consideration. "...a speculative news story being circulated in some section of media claiming that Attorney General has given an opinion in favour of not appealing in the Vodafone arbitration award is totally incorrect and without any factual basis," the statement added.
As per the ministry, the said award, along with all options, is under examination and based on this, it'll decide on the further course of action.
The government had lost a high-profile international tax arbitration case against Vodafone in September. An international arbitration court ruled the Indian government, seeking Rs 22,100 crore in taxes from telecom giant Vodafone using retrospective legislation was in "breach of the guarantee of fair and equitable treatment" guaranteed under the bilateral investment protection pact between India and the Netherlands.
The telecom giant had moved the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in 2016 following no consensus between its and government's arbitrators in finalising a judge for resolving the tax dispute. Vodafone was represented by DMD Advocates at ICJ.
Vodafone in 2013 had invoked India-Netherlands bilateral investment treaty, seeking a resolution to the tax demand imposed on it by enacting a tax law with retrospective effect to sidestep a Supreme Court judgement that went in the company's favour.
Vodafone argued that India does not have jurisdiction over the matter on account of its investment pact with the United Kingdom. On the other hand, Centre retaliated that it was an "abuse of the process of law" as the cause of action of the second arbitration was the same as the first one and is against the same host state.