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Tax row: court lifts freeze on Nokia assets for sale to Microsoft

AFP  New Delhi, December 12, 2013
First Published: 18:45 IST(12/12/2013) | Last Updated: 01:44 IST(13/12/2013)

Paving the way for Finnish handset major Nokia to sell its business here to Microsoft Corp, the Delhi High Court on Thursday lifted the Income Tax department order attaching its assets in India including a major manufacturing facility in Chennai.

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A bench of Justice Sanjiv Khanna and Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva allowed the sale of assets by Nokia India to Microsoft on it fulfilling certain conditions aimed at protecting the claims of the IT department.

The HC made it clear that Nokia India and its parent company Nokia Corporation, Finland will be jointly liable to pay tax demand of the IT department to the extent permissible and recoverable under the provisions of the Income Tax Act.

"Nokia Finland will be bound by the statement that they shall be jointly liable and shall pay tax demand determined and payable under Income Tax Ac," the HC said.

It further directed Nokia to deposit a minimum of Rs. 2,250 crore in an escrow account, which can later be adjusted towards the I-T department's tax demand under the I-T Act against the Finnish firm.

The details of the amount deposited in the escrow account can "go up or increase upon higher consideration being received from Microsoft as per the valuation report," the HC said. It further directed Nokia to furnish details of the amount deposited to the I-T department within one month of the agreement with Microsoft.

"Nokia acknowledges the decision by the Delhi High Court today to release Nokia's Indian assets, including its Chennai facility, for the planned transfer to Microsoft," the company said in a statement.


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