The Madras High Court has ruled that a probe by the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (DVAC) cannot be opposed in a disproportionate assets case just because the Income Tax Department had accepted the yearly returns during the check period.
Justice M Sathyanarayanan of the court's Madurai Bench gave this ruling while dismissing the plea of former DMK minister A Tamilarasi's husband M Ravikumar seeking discharge from a disproportionate assets case filed against him.
Rejecting the contention of Ravikumar that DVAC could not question him when the Income Tax Department had accepted his annual returns, the judge said I-T returns alone could not be taken as a conclusive proof of acquisition of properties by lawful means.
The former minister and her husband have been charged with amassing wealth to the tune of Rs.34.36 lakh through corrupt practices.
The government counsel contended that Tamilarasi, who was from a poor family with pecuniary resources to the tune of Rs 4.09 lakh before 2006, was in possession of property worth Rs 50.88 lakh in 2011.
The counsel said Ravikumar was jobless and dependent on his wife.
He had earned Rs 31.51 lakh and spent Rs 19.91 lakh during the check period, the lawyer alleged, adding they could not account properly for Rs 34.36 lakh.
Quoting a Supreme Court judgement, the judge said, "A property in the name of income tax assessee itself cannot be the ground to hold that it actually belonged to him or her." Such a proposition would give opportunity to corrupt public servants to amass wealth in names of known persons, pay income tax on their behalf and escape from prosecution, the judge added.