Sidhu continues to put heat on MSO Fastway Transmissions

MUMBAI: Punjab’s Local Bodies Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu continues to put the heat on the state’s largest multi-system operator (MSO), Fastway Transmissions. On Wednesday, he asked the Chief Minister’s Office to decide on the recovery of alleged tax evasion of Rs 20,000 crore by Fastway. He sought an audit of the company for the past ten years.

Shifting the onus on Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, Sidhu said he needed the support of “him and other cabinet colleagues” to take action against the cable company. The issue related to Excise and taxation, a portfolio held by the CM.

Addressing the media, Sidhu said he would pursue the matter to its logical conclusion. The entertainment tax in Punjab was Rs 50 per TV set. He alleged that the previous government tweaked the law to keep Fastway out of tax net and imposed a yearly lump-sum tax of just Rs 15,000 on the proprietors of cable operators.

Fastway responded to Sidhu’s remarks in a release and said that the minister was intent on defaming them. “The press conference on Wednesday was nothing, but political vendetta. A level-playing field already exists in the business in the state. The company has been paying its taxes on time,” Fastway said.

Fastway also stated that advocate Vineet Bhagat was twisting facts and claimed that he had lost all cases he had filed against the company in Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT), an appellate body that dealt with cases relating to the cable TV industry.

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