In a relief to Tata group chairman Ratan Tata, the Bombay High Court has stayed a trial against him on charges of evading excise duty to the tune of Rs 14.92 crore in 1989 as director of Voltas, a group company.
The central excise department had lodged a compliant with a local court against Voltas, Tata, and 27 other directors for allegedly evading excise duty on room air conditioners.
The complaint was lodged against the company and its directors in March 1989 under Section 120(b) of Indian Penal Code for conspiracy and Section 9(1)(b)(bb) of the Central Excise Commission Act for evading duty.
Justice AS Oka recently stayed the trial against Tata and another director, RN Soonawala, after they approached the HC for quashing of the case.
In 1986, the central excise department had issued a show-cause notice to Voltas, a leading manufacturer of room air conditioners, for evasion of excise duty worth Rs 14.92 crore.
The excise commissioner also upheld the central excise department's notice demanding payment of the duty.
Voltas approached the Bombay High Court in 1986 challenging the notice. The high court too upheld the excise commissioner's order.
However, the Supreme Court set aside the high court order, but granted liberty to the excise department to issue a fresh show-cause notice.
Accordingly, in 1989 the excise department issued a fresh show-cause notice to Voltas. Simultaneously, the excise department also lodged a compliant with a local metropolitan magistrate.
Tata and Soonawala had approached the high court in April challenging the complaint with the metropolitan court seeking that the complaint be quashed and set aside.