‘Scared of Tax Terrorism’: India Inc on VG Siddhartha’s Death
Kiran Mazumdar Shaw said the government needs to do a health check of India Inc.
(The reactions in the story have been recorded prior to the confirmation of CCD owner-founder VG Siddhartha’s death. Siddhartha’s body was recovered on Wednesday, 31 July after he went missing on 29 July. The body has been sent for post-mortem.)
“You can’t collectively descend upon an entrepreneur and shut the business,” Biocon Chairperson Kiran Mazumdar Shaw told The Quint, in response to the disappearance of Cafe Coffee Day Founder VG Siddhartha. She described the turn of events as “a big shock to corporate India,” and added that Siddhartha could have taken the drastic step to reveal the extent of stress he was under.
She further said that the 59-year-old entrepreneur’s disappearance exposed the treatment meted out to India Inc and that a complex set of factors could have contributed to his stress.
Regarding Siddhartha alleging harassment at the hands of taxmen, Shaw maintained that many businesses today are complaining of tax-terrorism and are often branded as “money launderers, the moment there is some financial stress.”
The step by the government is an extreme one in her opinion. “It is like telling Siddhartha that you just shut CCD, we don’t care if you employ thousands of people. That seems to be the indication. Maybe it should not have happened. But you can’t bolt the stable after the horses have left,” she said.
While the attitude of the larger administration towards corporate stress is concerning, Shaw also questioned the role of private equity holders, who, according to Siddhartha, had forced him to buy back shares in a time of financial distress. “I think private equity investors must be investigated as well. This seems to be a case of them wanting him to take all the risk, which is not fair. Because private equity is about sharing the risk.” she said.
With Broken Redressal, Businesses Scared of Taxmen: Mohandas Pai
The Quint also spoke to Chairman of Manipal Global Education and former Infosys Director Mohandas Pai, who said that the news of Siddhartha going missing had left him in deep shock. “We are deeply saddened. He was such a wonderful human being. Always ready to help.” While Pai did not want to comment on the cause of Siddhartha’s disappearance, he did shed light on the issue of tax terrorism.
Pai further stated that when there’s too much of power in the hands of officials, it can lead to misuse. “The Parliament should not have given taxmen the power to arrest. Only a court should have the power to issue an arrest warrant,” he said.
Big Dark Sense of Emptiness: Subroto Bagchi
Meanwhile, Mindtree co-founder and author Subroto Bagchi told The Quint that he had “no words” to express the the “big dark sense of emptiness” left behind by Siddhartha’s disappearance.
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