ByteDance Plea In opposition to India’s Freeze on Financial institution Account Dismissed by Mumbai Excessive Court docket

An Indian court docket on Tuesday dealt a blow to China’s ByteDance by dismissing its plea to unblock its financial institution accounts which have been frozen by federal authorities investigating alleged tax evasion.

An Indian tax intelligence company in mid-March ordered HSBC and Citibank in Mumbai to freeze accounts of ByteDance India because it probed among the agency’s monetary dealings.

ByteDance challenged the transfer in court docket saying the freeze amounts to harassment and was executed illegally.

After a authorities counsel mentioned ByteDance owed the authorities about Rs. 79 crores, the Excessive Court docket in Mumbai mentioned the corporate might want to hold that quantity blocked in a state-run financial institution.

That “account can be frozen,” the two-judge bench mentioned.

ByteDance in January reduced its Indian workforce after New Delhi maintained a ban on its widespread video app TikTok, imposed final yr after a border conflict between India and China. Beijing has repeatedly criticised India over that ban and people of different Chinese language apps.

None of ByteDance India’s staff have been paid their March salaries because of the account freeze, mentioned two individuals aware of the matter. The corporate instructed the court docket it has a workforce of 1,335, together with outsourced personnel.

Within the 209-page court docket submitting lodged on March 25, ByteDance instructed the Excessive Court docket in Mumbai the authorities acted in opposition to the corporate with none materials proof and gave no prior discover, as required by Indian legislation, earlier than such “drastic motion”.

Blocking accounts “throughout the means of investigation quantities (to) making use of undue coercion,” ByteDance argued. It’s “supposed, improperly, to harass the petitioner.”

© Thomson Reuters 2021

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