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Sell Mallya’s airbus by Dec 15: HC to service tax department

Ayesha Arvind, Mumbai: The Bombay high court on Friday directed the service tax department to sell

businessman Vijay Mallaya’s private luxury airbus by December 15 this year.
A division bench of justices SC Dharmadhikari and BP Colabawala observed that the aircraft had been lying at the domestic airport premises in the city “for too long now and immediate steps must be taken by the department to complete the auction and sale.”
“The aircraft has just been dumped at the airport. You (service tax department) are just buying time. Complete everything by December 15. Expedite the process so that the aircraft is lifted from that space (airport) immediately. We expect the aircraft to be auctioned and sold expeditiously by December 15,” the bench said.
The directions came while the bench was hearing a petition filed by the department seeking to recall the sale of Mallya’s airbus A319 claiming that the proceeds of the auction were too low and the highest bidder had bid for only 81.8 per cent of the reserve price of the Aircraft.
On the last hearing, the bench had permitted the department to call off the auction and permitted CJ Leasings, the company that owns the luxury airbus A319 and that had leased it to Mallya, to identify either a new seller, or an expert body that could help sell it off.
CJ Leasings in turn had proposed the name of the Virginia-based aviation consultant Avitas Inc, saying that the company has much “experience and enjoys worldwide reputation,” and thus, should be “involved in conducting the sale of the aircraft.”
On Friday, while the department said that it had no objections to roping in a new party, however, the draft guidelines to conduct such auctions provide only for roping in “Indian entities.”
The bench thus, asked the department to work out all modalities and complete the sale formalities without wasting “any more time or resources.”

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