HC stays I-T order against Deepak Kochhar
Granting interim relief to Deepak Kochhar — the husband of former ICICI Bank chief executive officer Chanda Kochhar — the Bombay high court on Wednesday stayed an income tax (I-T) assessment order which directed him to pay tax on an additional ₹394 crore which had been deposited in his account in the 2012-13 financial year in lieu of the benefit of shared premium of NuPower Renewables Private Limited (NRPL).
After Kochhar claimed that the assessment order was issued without giving him a chance to explain and that he wanted to appeal against it, the HC gave him four weeks to approach the first appellate authority. The court also stayed the I-T order for four weeks so that the appellate authority may decide on Kochhar’s plea. A division bench of justices Ujjal Bhuyan and Milind Jadhav said, “We have not expressed any opinion on merit and all contentions are kept open. It is also made clear that if the appeal order goes against the petitioner, the same shall also be kept in abeyance for two weeks to enable the petitioner to avail the statutory remedy.” The assessing officer had added a sum of nearly ₹394.46 crore to Kochhar’s income under section 56 (1) of the I-T Act as benefit received on account of receipt of shared premium after getting control of NRPL.
Senior counsel Jehangir Mistry told HC that the I-T department issued the order without any notice to his client and that it was “devoid of any deliberation on the part of the assessing officer”.
The counsel for the I-T department, Sham Walve, however, submitted that Kochhar had an alternate remedy available to him — he could approach the statutory forum — and that the assessment order should not be set aside.