New Delhi: Stressing that there is no vindictive intention behind the move to retrospectively amend tax laws, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Sunday said the government does not plan to open a plethora of old cases by making changes to the Income Tax Act.

 "I can assure the industry that there is no intention of opening plethora of the old cases on this plea or that plea because that is simply not permissible (under the laws)," he said while replying to a question at CII meet here.

On industry apprehensions that all the cases could be reopened from the date of enactment of the Income Tax Act, Mukherjee said "to that my answer is no".

"This amendment has been made not with any vindictive or with asserting any particular point of view. This is absolute requirement of the law.

 “But at the same time, I shall have to protect myself. I am not holding my money. I am custodian of the money given by 120 crore people through taxation," he added.

Mukherjee's proposal in the Budget to retrospectively amend the Income Tax Act with effect from April, 1962, to tax deals involving overseas companies that have interests in India, has generated criticism with some suggesting that it would impact investments into the country.

He said that while the Supreme Court is "ultimate interpretor of law  that does not take away the right of the legislators to express its intentions".

The move comes against the backdrop of the Supreme Court order that held that the USD 11 billion deal between British telecom giant Vodafone and Hong Kong based Hutchison's telecom
business, involving India assets, was not liable to tax in this country. The apex court rejected the IT department's demand for Rs 10,000 crore tax on the deal.

Mukherjee said the Budget move was not merely to prevent erosion of revenues in present cases but also to check the outgo of revenues in old cases.

Pointing out that there had been hardly any Finance Bill that did not amend laws retrospectively, Mukherjee said the proposed changes in tax laws are in line with the Supreme Court judgement to make intention of the legislators clear.

He said that within hours of Supreme Court dismissing the Centre's review petition in the Vodafone case, he directed officials to return the money collected from the telecom

The government paid back Rs 2,500 crore along with four per cent interest to Vodafone on March 20.