THE MEN WHO MATTER
Appointed as Solicitor General in July this year and son of legendary jurist Fali Nariman, Nariman could not have asked for a more challenging case to start his new assignment. Having earned his stripes as one of the youngest lawyers to have been designated as Senior Advocate of Supreme Court, Nariman is known for his magical courtcraft and 'obsessive attention to minutest of details'. Entered this case only at SC stage but has surprised everyone with his remarkable grasp of the complicated facts and legal issues involved, in such a short time.
Role in Vodafone case: To try and put the tax department past the winning line by focussing on the facts of Hutch - Voda deal and by launching a brutal attack on SC ruling in Azadi Bachao Andolan.
A ' Giantkiller' and master strategist, Parasaran has bested the biggest and best of lawyers in the last couple of years, from Salve to Jethmalani to Dastur. He pulled off one of the most stunning upsets in Indian legal history by winning the Vodafone tax case in the Bombay HC with his incisive strategy, razor sharp focus on SPA and calm demeanour under the most intense pressure.
Role in Vodafone case: To re-construct the SPA 'Chakravyuha' in SC and shoot an arrow to break Vodafone's Cayman Island defence.
The man who has ate, slept and breathed the Vodafone case ever since the controversy broke out 4 years ago under his stewardship of the International tax wing of the Income Tax Department. His command over the facts of Vodafone case can leave any person mesmerized and his immense contribution in terms of painstaking research for this case, has been invaluable.
Role in Vodafone case: To research every possible angle and assist Nariman and Parasaran to break every possible defence of Vodafone.
The 'Mastermind' behind every show cause notice and communication issued to Vodafone, the man who supervised the case as the Director of International Taxation ( tax department ) and above all, the person who was responsible for arguably the longest and probably one of the best assessment orders ever drafted - the 760 page order on Vodafone for not deducting tax at source before making the $11bn payment to Hutch.
Role in Vodafone case: To demystify the complex facts of the $11bn transaction
Considered among the best lawyers not just in India but across the globe. Needless to say then that he is also one of the costliest! Among his recent big ticket legal victories - the War for Gas between the Ambani brothers, where Salve batted for the elder brother Mukesh owned RIL.
Role in Vodafone case: To convince the judges that the Hutch-Vodafone deal was nothing but the transfer of a Cayman Island company's share. An uphill task, especially since the Bombay HC refused to buy his argument.
Raised quite a few eyebrows when he agreed to appear for Vodafone to argue that an amendment ( Sec 201 ) brought in by his own party and government was unconstitutional. Appears on news channels almost every night to defend the Government and Congress party, which has been under siege of late.
Role in Vodafone case: Limited....HC did not consider it necessary to hear him on this issue. SC may choose to do the same!
A UK based tax counsel, known for his expertise in the complex area of international tax. His presence in the courtroom (both HC and SC ) has received wide attention and made this case a truly international controversy.
Role in Vodafone case: To advise Vodafone on international precedents and law in different countries when it comes to taxation of offshore share deals.
One of India's top advocates based out of Mumbai, Chinoy entered this case at the last second, as the counsel for AT&T who intervened in the Vodafone case on the question of interpretation of Azadi Bachao and Sec 9 of Income Tax Act. Chinoy's arguments on Azadi Bachao were poetry, admit even revenue officials. But while he may have just about managed to save the Mauritius route for FIIs and FDI routed through the tax haven, that may still not be enough to help Vodafone win the case.
Role in Vodafone case: To ensure that Azadi Bachao is not overruled and Sec 9 doesn't hit offshore transfer of shares like the AT&T - Tata deal!