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Who Represents Who

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Ajay Bahl and Deepak Chopra head the team at AZB & Partners, which advises on contentious and non-contentious tax matters across a range of sectors. Bahl and Sunil Agarwal advise 21st Century Fox and News Corporation on litigation and various tax and transfer pricing issues, and Chopra represented PepsiCo India before the Delhi High Court in challenging the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal’s decision to remit an AMP matter for re-examination.

BMR Legal advises on tax policy and tax-related disputes, with experience acting for multinational and domestic clients in international tax matters and transfer pricing disputes. Practice heads Mukesh Butani and Vishal Kalra represented IBM India before the Supreme Court in a case concerning section 10A of the tax holiday claim, and advise General Motors India on a range of transfer pricing matters, including structuring and litigation support.

Led by Rohit Jain and Nishant Shah, Economic Laws Practice grew last year with a considerable number of arrivals, including Jignesh Ghelani from EY and MP Devnath, who was previously with LakshmiKumaran & Sridharan. Shah advises Johnson & Johnson on various indirect tax issues, including litigation before the Supreme Court, and Jain represents BMW India in the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence’s investigation into alleged undervaluation of import prices. Senior associate Rahul Khurana and counsel Vishal Kulkarni are also noted. Rohan Shah is now an independent counsel.

The ‘excellent’ practice at Khaitan & Co. is led by executive directors Daksha Baxi, Nihal Kothari and Dinesh Agrawal. The team ‘quickly gets up to speed’ and provides ‘accurate and commercially sound advice’, and the ‘hard-working’ and ‘responsive’ Sanjay Sanghvi represented Mahindra-BT Investment Company (Mauritius) before the Authority for Advance Rulings regarding the India-Mauritius tax treaty. Bijal Ajinkya is ‘technically astute’. Shabnam Shaikh has ‘a nuanced understanding of legal arguments’ and fellow principal associate Aditi Sharma is ‘performing at partner level’.

LakshmiKumaran & Sridharan is strong on tax litigation and advisory matters, and counts Sun Pharmaceutical, ICICI Bank and Mondelez among its clients. V Lakshmi Kumaran represented MakeMyTrip before the High Court regarding the arrest of one of its officials in connection with payment of service tax, and Narasimhan B L advised Nestlé on the classification and payable duty of its milk drink products. L Badri Narayanan and senior associate Charanya Lakshmikumaran are also noted.

Nishith Desai Associates provides structuring, restructuring, tax advisory, and transactional advice, and has experience in litigation and tax policy. Nishith Desai and Rajesh Simhan head the practice.

Rupesh Jain and Neeraj Jain head the practice at Vaish Associates, which advises on direct taxation matters with particular strengths in litigation and transfer pricing issues. Rohit Jain represents Maruti Suzuki India in corporate tax proceedings before the Tax Tribunal and the High Court, and the team is also handling a transfer pricing dispute before the Supreme Court concerning the creation of marketing intangibles. Gaurav Jain was promoted to the partnership and senior associate Abhishek Agarwal is also noted.

ALMT Legal advises on direct and indirect tax issues, and has considerable disputes experience. Aliff Fazelbhoy is representing MSC Software Corporation India in its dispute with the income tax authorities concerning transfer pricing issues, and Statira Ranina advised IOP Publishing on the applicability of transfer pricing provisions to the services it receives from its subsidiary company in India.

Advaita Legal has a newly expanded team following the integration of Seth Dua & Associates, which brought with it the arrival of Atul Dua, among a number of others. Dua joins key tax partners Sujit Ghosh and A R Madhav Rao. Recent work highlights include advising Coastal Gujarat Power on the applicability of service tax to processing charges paid to secure loans from the International Finance Corporation and Asian Development Bank. The legacy Seth Dua & Associates team assisted Acic Group Kuwait with the structuring aspects of its acquisition and investment into the Indian hotel industry in the context of its global restructuring, and represented Amrit Banaspati before the Customs, Excise & Service Tax Appellate Tribunal concerning the applicability of service tax on payment of non-compete fees.

Led by S R Patnaik, the team at Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas specialises in restructuring, corporate advisory services, regulatory compliance, and litigation. Patnaik and indirect tax head Mekhla Anand advised Essar Energy and Oil Bidco on the tax aspects of the sale of their 98% stake in Essar Oil, and the team also advised Equitas Holdings on the tax implications of its $322m IPO.

Led by Shahid Khan and Vijay Ravi, Kochhar & Co. advises on direct and indirect tax matters and provides ‘an excellent service and value for money’. Khan represented two law firms in a cross-border tax dispute relating to tax liability on the settlements of a class action suit filed against Satyam Computer Services by US-based investors.

At Luthra & Luthra Law Offices, Vikas Srivastava and Sanjeev Sachdeva head the direct and indirect tax practices respectively. Lokesh Shah advised on the tax aspects of Sysomos’ acquisition of Uberlabs and the team also successfully represented Nokia India Sales before the Supreme Court in proceedings relating to purchase tax.

Majmudar & Partners has strengths in international tax matters, including advice on deal structuring issues, international tax treaty interpretation, permanent establishment issues and M&A-related tax matters. Akil Hirani and tax counsel Ravishankar Raghavan head the practice, and advised Bose Corporation on changes to its reporting structure worldwide.

Led by Pallavi Shroff, the practice at Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co has significant expertise in transactional tax, tax structuring and advisory work, and litigation. Abhay Sharma and Sandeep Chilana assisted Novartis and Sandoz with the tax structuring issues pertaining to the sale of IP and product inventory owned by the clients, and Shroff represented JPMorgan Chase in appealing a rejection order by the tax officer before the Bombay High Court.

Trilegal provides expertise in direct and indirect tax matters, transfer pricing issues and foreign trade policy, drawing from the firm’s corporate, M&A, and dispute resolution strengths. The ‘insightful’ Himanshu Sinha heads the practice, and represented Samsung India Electronics in transfer pricing proceedings before the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal, and Samsuddha Majumder advised on the structuring and tax implications of Logfire’s merger with Oracle’s US subsidiary.

The ‘high-quality’ practice at Amicus, which is led by Ashutosh Mohan Rastogi, focuses on transfer pricing matters and provides ‘timely and practical solutions’. The team successfully defended Express Knowledge Communication Solutions in transfer pricing litigation before the first appellate authority and undertook comprehensive international transfer pricing planning for a number of clients.

HSA Advocates provides strategic tax advisory, planning, and optimisation services across all areas of direct and indirect tax, and has strengths in litigation matters. Led by Nand Kishore, the team represents Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation before the tax authorities against allegations of tax evasion and before various fora in disputes pertaining to coercive actions initiated by the income tax department.

LexCounsel advised Shell Group through TaxConsult Belgium on the tax treatment of a number of payments, including a severance payment to a Belgium national employed by Shell India, and advised Asas Investments on the tax implications of its proposed corporate structuring options. Clients include Karen Millen, Avestra Group and Procurus. Dimpy Mohanty leads the practice.

Led by Ashok Kumar Bhasin and Vimal Sethi, Bhasin Sethi & Associates specialises in indirect tax matters, including advice on goods and service tax, central excise, customs, foreign trade policy and litigation. Clients include Asahi India Glass, Jaquar, Socomo and SKC Infratech.

Dua AssociatesSunil Kumar Malik advises multinationals and foreign corporations on a range of tax mandates, including permanent establishment exposure and transaction and internal structuring.

Gagrats represented E Merck in tax proceedings before the Customs, Excise and Service Tax Appellate Tribunal and advised Jet Airways and JetLite on the structuring of its lease transactions and compliance with the general anti-avoidance regulations. Managing partners Rustam Gagrat and U A Rana are the names to note.

At Phoenix Legal, Aseem Chawla joined from MPC Legal and jointly heads the practice with Abhishek Saxena. The team advised Bee Gee Creations on implications under Indian and US law, and successfully defended Vinod Raj & Co in tax evasion proceedings before the Delhi High Court.

The ‘technically excellent’ team at Reina Legal is led by Gajendra Maheshwari. The group represented Siemens in a VAT dispute before the Delhi VAT Appellate Tribunal, and advised Panasonic Automotive Systems India on the classification and customs duty structure of its products.

At Singh & Associates Founder – Manoj K Singh Advocates and Solicitors, Daizy Chawla represented Dunar Foods in an excise matter before the Supreme Court. Gunita Pahwa is another key name. Henry Ford Health System is also a client.

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