India has rejected New York City's contention that it is using the 26-storey building owned by it near the United Nations in Manhattan for commercial purposes.
Commenting on the city filing a lawsuit to 'recover' more than $16.3 million in property tax arrears, a senior officer of the Indian Mission to the United Nations told PTI that, unlike some other missions, India has not rented any part of the premises to any commercial organisation.
The Mission has offices on the first four floors. The remaining have fifteen residential apartments and five single room units for the diplomatic officers of the Mission and the Consulate General of India. These officers enjoy diplomatic immunity, he said.
He said India would take up the matter with the United States' State Department as also the American Mission to the United Nations.
Discussions, he added, have been going on the issue for some time now but declined to speculate on the reasons as to why NYC filed the suit at this time. "We have no idea about the reasons," he said.
A city spokesperson had said that only the apartment occupied by the ambassador or head of mission is exempt from property tax.In the suit, NYC has claimed that India has not paid property tax since 1985 and the amount includes interest on the unpaid amount.