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New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday granted Essar Oil Ltd time till 4 April to repay the last instalment of sales tax dues to the Gujarat government. The court has also clarified that Essar Oil will not make any other application for extension of the timeline.

A bench headed by justice H.L. Dattu refused the extension of two months sought by Essar Oil’s lawyer Salman Khurshid, saying that the company “had lost its battle here (in the apex court)" and could afford to pay the 667 crore dues. Essar was arguing that due to a steep decline in global oil prices, it was not in a position to pay the last instalment.

In January 2012, the Supreme Court held that Essar Oil could not avail of Sales Tax Deferment Scheme, which had allowed it to pay sales tax to the state government in deferred instalments. The company had availed of 6,169 crore of sales tax benefits.

Essar has already paid seven instalments amounting to a total of about 5,500 crore. Interest of 10% had also been levied.

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