The organisers of the Indian Grand Prix on Wednesday said that they have "in-principal approval" for custom exemption and they are even ready to pay whatever duty is required to hold the October 30 F1 race.
A report in a national daily claimed that since the government does not classify Formula One as a sport, it was not willing to grant any exemption to the organisers and hence they would have to pay custom duty on the temporary import of F1 equipment to the country.
However, Jaypee Sports International Limited (JPSI) on Wednesday insisted they have support from all quarters.
"JPSI has full support from the government, the sports ministry and the customs department for the F1 event scheduled for October this year. We have an in-principle approval from the customs department for creating a customs bonded area for F1 equipment that will be temporarily imported to India," Sameer Gaur, MD and CEO, JPSI said in a statement.
"If required, as per the law of the land, JPSI will pay customs duties and taxes etc. for the temporary import of equipment. The estimated value of this equipment is about Rs 150 crore and the final duty payable on this will be approximately Rs eight crore," Gaur added.
Meanwhile, S D Majumder, the Chairman of Central Board of Exise and Customs (CBES) told PTI that exemption cannot be granted to JPSI since the F1 race is not an event of national importance.
"When equipments are imported for sports events of national importance, the Sports Ministry issues a certificate on the basis of which Customs Department issues exemption notification subject to them (equipment) getting exported back. For Commonwealth Games and the (cricket) World Cup, those certificates were issued, so we gave exemption.
"In this case, the Sports Ministry has not given any certificate, so there is no question of granting any exemption. As it is, they are entitled to get duty drawback up to 98% on the equipment imported.
"So effectively, they will have to pay only around 2%. This is not an event of national importance so no such exemption is required," Majumder said.