Delhi HC to hear pleas of Sonia, Rahul Gandhi challenging tax reassessment
The Delhi high court will Tuesday hear Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s plea challenging the income tax department’s reopening of his 2011-12 assessment for not disclosing that he was a director in Young Indian company, an accused in the National Herald case.
In the last hearing on the case of August 8, a bench of Justices S Ravindra Bhat and AK Chawla, who refused to grant any interim relief to Gandhi and or accept his counsel’s plea seeking restraint on publishing news on the case by various media organisations, listed the matter for further hearing on August 14.
Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who appeared for the income tax department, had opposed issuance of any interim order. He however, assured the bench that no coercive step would be taken against Gandhi by the tax department till the next hearing.
Gandhi’s lawyers were seeking an interim order as the case related to the assessment was listed in the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal for hearing on August 9.
Former Congress president Sonia Gandhi also moved the Delhi high court on Monday challenging the reopening of her assessments by the Income tax Department regarding the Young Indian-National Herald transactions. Her plea is also listed for hearing on Tuesday before the same bench.
Rahul Gandhi and his mother Sonia Gandhi are major stakeholders in Young Indian Pvt Ltd, incorporated in 2010, and subsequently acquiring Associated Journals Limited, which published the National Herald newspaper.
As per the tax department, the shares Gandhi has in Young Indian would lead him to have an income of Rs 154 crore and not about Rs 68 lakh, as was assessed by it earlier and it had applied section 147 of the Income Tax Act, which provides for bringing under the tax net any income which has escaped assessment in the original assessment.
Gandhi’s lawyers said the query put to their client during the scrutiny of his assessment was whether he had any interest in any company or sister concern in which he was a director and he had replied in the negative as Young Indian was a Section 25 company, a non-profit entity, and hence no director would have any interest in it.
BJP MP Subramanian Swamy, in a private criminal complaint filed before a trial court, had accused the Gandhis and others of conspiring to cheat and misappropriate funds by paying just Rs 50 lakh, through which Young Indian had obtained the right to recover Rs 90.25 crore which the Associated Journals Limited owed to the Congress party. All the accused, also including Motilal Vora, Oscar Fernandes, Suman Dubey and Sam Pitroda, have denied the allegations levelled against them.
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