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Asset attachment order not wrong, HC tells Satyendar Jain

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday said it sees “nothing wrong” in the IT department’s order to attach assets of Delhi minister Satyendar Jain which included more than 100 bighas of land with investment value of Rs 17 crore and shares amounting to Rs 16 crore under the new Benami Act.

delhi Updated: Jun 01, 2017 11:24 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Satyendar Jain,Satyendar jain cases,Arvind Kejriwal
Delhi health and power minister Satyendar Jain (left) with Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in Delhi Assembly on Wednesday. The I-T department had attached assets of Jain in a case against him.(Sonu Mehta/HT Photo)

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday remarked it was of the prima facie view that there was nothing wrong with the income tax department’s order to provisionally attach some assets allegedly linked to Delhi health minister Satyendar Jain.

Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva said, “Prima facie, I am of the view that there is nothing wrong with the order. I am not inclined to interfere with the attachment”. The judge also declined to stay the proceedings before the adjudicating aurthority of the department as was sought by the minister.

Earlier this year, the IT department had attached assets including more than 100 bighas of land with investment value of Rs 17 crore and shares amounting to Rs 16 crore under the new Benami Act.

Jain has challenged the retrospective application of the penal provisions of the Benami Act in his case.

“Admittedly all the alleged transactions were prior to the period when the said provision came into existence. The period of alleged transaction is 2011 to 31st March 2016 whereas the provisions of the (new) Act came in to force only on November 1, 2016,” his petition said.

Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain said presently the initiating officer had only passed a provisional attachment order and forwarded it to the adjudicating authority, which is yet to even issue a show cause notice.

He said the adjudicating authority will give Jain an opportunity to be heard and cross examine the witnesses before taking a final decision.

Jain’s counsel claimed that witnesses were examined by the initiating officer prior to passing the order, but no opportunity for cross-examination was given to him.

His counsel said the purchase of assets from the proceeds of benami transactions, as contended by the tax department, would not be benami as per the previous Benami Act.

“Such transactions have been held not to be covered under the unamended Act and therefore, the said Act is being retrospectively being applied, which is clearly in violation of Article 20 (1) of the Constitution of India,” the petition said.

First Published: May 31, 2017 22:46 IST