New Delhi, December 4: The Supreme Court on Tuesday gave green signal to the Income Tax department to continue with the tax re-assessment for the year 2011-12 of Congress president Rahul Gandhi, his mother Sonia Gandhi and party leader Oscar Fernandes in a case related to the National Herald newspaper. The apex court, however, asked the IT department to not pass any order, and posted the matter for further hearing on January 8.
During the hearing, senior advocate Kapil Sibal and P Chidambaram told the top court that IT department is continuing with tax re-assessment and will pass an order by December 31. “We must be protected,” Sibal told the apex court. The top court adjourned the hearing and ordered that in the meantime IT department can go ahead with the assessment but restrained against any coercive action against them. National Herald Case: CBI Files Chargesheet Against Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Motilal Vora and Associated Journals Limited.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who appeared for the IT department, opposed the order, to which Justice AK Sikri, who was hearing the matter along with Justices Ashok Bhushan and S Abdul Nazeer, responded saying that the order is innocuous and in fact in Centre’s favour. The bench made it clear that the validity of assessment will be subjected to final verdict of the apex court, adding that it was not expressing any opinion on merit of the petitions.
The Gandhis and senior Congress leader Oscar Fernandes have challenged the Delhi High Court’s September 10 verdict that dismissed their plea against the re-opening of their tax assessments for 2011-12 and given opportunity to the department to scrutinise their records. The IT department had told the High Court that the All India Congress Committee had transferred funds to the tune of Rs 99 crore to Associate Journal Ltd, the publisher of National Herald.
Rahul had willfully chosen to not disclose the fact that he held the director’s post at Young India, IT department had contended. However, Rahul’s counsel had asserted before the High Court that the Congress president did not receive any income from the source, and hence is not liable for any tax. The National Herald case is an ongoing case filed in 2012 by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Subramanian Swamy against Sonia, Rahul, their companies and associates. (With agency inputs)