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I-T probe likely to cover Satyam bankers too
January, 17th 2009

The Income-Tax department, which is investigating into Satyam Computers tax payments and returns, may expand its probe to cover
banks which held deposits of the company, a finance ministry official said. The probe would look at the TDS (tax deducted at source) certificates submitted by the company in the past six years along with its tax returns and payment of the tax deducted by banks on interest that was paid on companys bank deposits.

The I-T office in Hyderabad, where the company is based, has already sent a preliminary report on Satyam. A status report has also been sent to the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT).

The official said the departments investigation would look into whether the bank deposits shown were fake or real, TDS certificates submitted by the company from banks and if the tax deducted by banks was actually paid by them. Banks are obliged to deduct tax at source on interest payments more than Rs 10,000 in an year, against which they issue a certificate to the depositor.

A taxpayer can submit these certificates along with his or her income-tax return as a proof of payment of tax. A taxpayer who does not have tax liability, can get the TDS back, by submitting these certificates.

Under the provisions of the income-tax law, if any entity which is obliged to deduct tax at source, deducts tax but does not deposit it to the I-T department can face prosecution. If the deductee, does not deduct tax, it is liable to pay penalty equal to the amount to be paid and interest.

The probe into the TDS certificates submitted by Satyam, whose founder B Ramalinga Raju admitted to fraudulent accounting, and its bankers will help the authorities establishing a trail, the official said.

Mr Raju had said that the companys balance sheet as of September 30, 2008, carried non-existent cash and bank balances of Rs 5,040 crore as against Rs 5,361 crore reflected in the books. It also showed an accrued interest of Rs 376 crore, which is non-existent. Besides, the liability was understated by Rs 1,230 crore and debt owed to the company was overstated debtors by Rs 490 crore as against Rs 2,651 reflected in the books.

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