Nokia has followed Indian tax laws to a tee: Shivakumar
The outgoing Nokia senior vice-president (India, Middle East, Asia) D Shivakumar defended the company against the tax departments claims of tax evasion. He also said to operate in India, corporates need patience.
After an eight-year stint, Shivakumar will quit Nokia on June 30. Sivakumar led Nokia India between 2006 and 2011 and has seen the company rise to the top and lose market share over the last few years.
In an exclusive exit interview, Shivakumar says “I would really be surprised if any global CEO said India is not an important market for us.”
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Below is the verbatim transcript of his interview to CNBC-TV18
Q: Let's start with the Nokia's tussle with I-T department. What do you have to say on it?
A: We have followed all the laws, to the letter, every single thing. The issue is interpretation. Someone who is looking at the same thing will interpret it differently and so no you need to pay a profit on this transaction also. We have got enough legal, consultant and international opinion to say what we have done is right.
In this case a constructive dialogue is the answer. It is not for the media to repeatedly say here is Vodafone and here is Nokia, here is somebody else and they are tax evaders.
Q: But where does the constructive dialogue actually led you because you moved to Delhi High Court, there has been no positive movement for you on that front, where is the constructive dialogue?
A: That is the democracy. If you operate in markets and democratic institutions like India, it takes time. So, one of the things on dealing with India is you have to have enormous patience. One needs to have patience for the process to go through, for the institution to take its view and do the right thing.
Q: Is the global headquater (HQ) losing patience with having to do business in this sort of an environment?
A: I don’t think people will lose patience. People invariably look at India and say: "Here is a great country and a great market. We really wish they could iron out these little things which hamper smooth progress". That is the way most people will look at India today.
I would really be surprised if any global CEO said India is not an important market for us. They will not be able to say that because India is too important today and will be even more important in the future.