On Monday morning, people working at the Manyata Tech Park in Nagavara area in Bengaluru walked in to see trucks lined up outside the main building. There was a flurry of activity as government officials directed laborers to take out furniture from the Tech Park's office and load it onto the trucks.
Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) officials seized furniture from Manyata Tech Park office in Nagavara area in Bengaluru on Monday for non-payment of differential tax.
Shivaraj, chairman of Finance and Tax department at BBMP said that only movable items from the main office are being seized, while the other office complexes are not being disturbed.
Manyata Tech Park has been in news for the last two years as its owners have ignored repeated notices from BBMP to pay the outstanding tax amount.
"They have not paid the tax despite the high court ruling that the tech park should pay additional Rs. 83.45 crore," he said.
Justice L Narayana Swamy in May 2016 rejected the petition by Manyata Promoters Pvt., Ltd, that challenged Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) notices in 2015 demanding differential tax.
The petitioner claimed that they had paid property tax at Rs 8 per square feet through the Self Assessment Scheme from 2008-09 to 2015-16, declaring that the tech park came under the category of non-residential buildings without central air-conditioning. However, they increased the tax after they realised all concrete structures inside the tech park were air-conditioned.
The chairman claimed the BBMP had also issued notification in May 2015, ordering all assistant revenue officers to inspect and revise the property tax and fix new rates for IT, BT companies that have centralised air conditioning.
Petitioners representing Manyata Tech Park had contended that that BBMP had no power to make a fiscal demand or levy tax classifying the buildings as centrally air-conditioned. They challenged in court that the BBMP can only question legality as per Rule 4 of the BBMP Property Tax Rules, 2009, which authorises the commissioner to categorise buildings based on the nature of commercial use and facilities offered so far.
"They have been paying property tax but at Rs 8 per square feet. Whereas they should be paying Rs 10/sqft. We have been asking them to the pay the tax since 2014 and they kept ignoring it,â€ť said Shivaraj.
â€śThere is a hearing by a HC division bench tomorrow and a decision will be taken then. Until then the moveable items will be cleared under the joint commissioner Sarfaraz Khanâ€™s supervision,â€ťhe said.