The state government is not the only claimant of the property owned by IAS couple Arvind and Tinoo Joshi who are facing corruption charges. The state government on Friday gave clearance for moving an application in court for confiscation of the property owned by the Joshi family but the income tax department has already attached the property for realising the tax demand raised by it.
The enforcement directorate is another agency that is trying the Joshis under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) and had provisionally attached their property.
The empowered committee of the state government gave the go ahead for confiscation of property owned by the Joshi family under the MP Special Courts Act, 2012.
However, the income tax department that had searched the premises of Arvind and Tinoo Joshi in February, 2010 has already attached the property under section 226 of the Income Tax Act. After the income tax search, the Lokayukta registered a case against the Joshis and subsequently searched the premises of the Joshis some months later.
Lokayukta justice PP Naolekar told HT that a complication of this nature may arise in the future, a thought echoed by former Lokayukta justice Faizanuddin. “Prima facie it seems that the income tax department that had attached the property will use it for fulfillment of the income tax claims,” he said. Sources in the Lokayukta however said that if the court allows the confiscation of the property, the income tax department cannot auction it either.
During the preparation of the assessment report on the case, income tax authorities had attached the property of the Joshi family. The income tax department had raised a claim of roughly Rs. 180 crore as tax liability from the Joshi family.
Sources said that it is a unique situation when a state government and union government agency are staking claim over the same assets. The MP Special Courts Act, 2012 provides for confiscation of the property of those found guilty of corruption. The act is however silent about what happens to the property when other agencies also stake claim over it.