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Motor Racing

Court case over taxes 'won't stop' Indian GP


Organisers of the Indian Grand Prix are adamant that Sunday's race will go ahead even though the country's top court will hear a petition seeking its cancellation over tax issues.

The Indian Supreme Court decided to hear the case after campaigner Amit Kumar accused the race promoters Jaypee Sports International (JPSI) of not paying entertainment taxes in full for last year's Indian Grand Prix.

"The race will go on. There's absolutely no doubt about that," said Vicky Chandhok, who heads the Federation of Motor Sports Clubs of India (FMSCI). "This has happened many times before. You've had people trying to stop cricket matches... our justice system is pretty strong that no sporting event should be stopped.

"It's a civil matter, let it be heard in court as long as it takes and that's it. No worries. Under the democratic system here anyone can bring a civil case against a public event.

"It happens all the time in cricket when somebody expresses a grievance. But the courts are always unwilling to stop an event. The due process of law goes ahead, but there is no chance at all of the race being cancelled."

Two years ago the Indian Supreme Court ordered circuit bosses to freeze 25 per cent of ticket revenues for the grand prix until they had settled an outstanding tax dispute. That ruling followed public-interest litigation again filed by Kumar.

The long-term future of the Indian Grand Prix is already uncertain after F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone removed the race from next year's calendar. Organisers are trying to find a new date for its return in 2015, with Ecclestone keen for the race to take place in the early part of the season, rather than its current October slot.

Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel could clinch his fourth driver's title in India this Sunday, as he leads rival Fernando Alonso of Ferrari by 90 points with 100 still available. The German, who has led every racing lap at the Indian Grand Prix since its debut in 2011, will triumph if he finishes fifth or higher this weekend, regardless of where Alonso finishes.