The CBDT on Thursday rejected the charge that it was harassing Yoga guru Ramdev against whom it has slapped a Rs 58 crore notice for alleged violation of tax exemption provisions given to his trust.
"As far as allegation of harassment of Baba Ramdev has been made by you...I would like to say that the department has a very well laid out grievance redressal mechanism.
"If the assessing officer is in any manner perceived to be harassing any assessee, may be Baba Ramdev, then the next authority in the administration is always available for you to lodge a grievance," CBDT chairperson Poonam Kishore Saxena told reporters when she was asked about Ramdev's allegations that the department was harassing him.
The department has initiated action for withdrawal of the "tax exemptions" against the trusts owned by Ramdev for alleged contraventions of I-T laws. Ramdev has denied any wrongdoing and he is contesting the case at the appellate authority.
Saxena said grievance mitigation procedures are "absolutely well laid down in the department"
"...because it is a department that interacts with the public...we have this grievance redressal machinery and I would suggest anybody who has this problem may kindly take recourse," she said.
The I-T notice sent earlier this year, for the assessment year 2009-10, on Haridwar-based Patanjali Yogpeeth Trust, Divya Yoga Mandir Trust and Bharat Swabhiman Trust have been slapped on the income of Rs 120 crore which the department has held as "commercial activities".
Ramdev is leading a campaign against black money in the country and heads the organisation that runs the trusts which manages the manufacture and sale of ayurvedic medicines in India and abroad.
Ramdev's trusts have been enjoying tax exemption under the provisions relating to charitable organisations for the last few years.
The I-T department, which conducted a "special audit" of all the businesses related to Ramdev, had found that the sale of these medicines and other ayurvedic concoctions are a commercial venture. The department then held the view that the trusts should not be enjoying any tax exemption.