Tax evasion case: HC issues notice to Amarinder Singh, son

Sofi Ahsan
The complaint filed by the department is pending before the trial court since November 2016 and the court had issued summons to Amarinder and Raninder in April 2017. (File)

The Punjab and Haryana High Court Monday issued notice to Capt Amarinder Singh and his son, Raninder Singh, on a petition filed by the Income Tax department for setting aside of a sessions court order by which the summons issued to them in a tax evasion case by the trial court were quashed for want of "admissible evidence" last year.

The department plea for quashing of the November 27, 2018 order of the sessions court in the tax evasion complaint is now listed for hearing on April 25 before a single bench of the High Court. The complaint filed by the department is pending before the trial court since November 2016 and the court had issued summons to Amarinder and Raninder in April 2017.

The Additional Sessions Judge in November 2018 while quashing the summons issued against Amarinder and Raninder had said there was "no admissible evidence" before the trial court for it to issue such summons as none of the documents attached with the complaints filed by the department were certified copies. "Mere photocopies were taken as evidence," the sessions court had said in the order.

Senior Advocate Chetan Mittal, on behalf of the department, Monday argued that a pendrive containing documents had come through proper government officials – from French government to Indian government – through the office of Indian government situated in France. "Therefore, the documents which have been taken from the pendrive supplied by Government of France, cannot be discarded on the ground that it is not accompanied by a proper certificate, as required under Section 65-B of the Indian Evidence Act," he submitted, adding stage of summoning is not a stage where the legality of the documents is to ascertained.

In July 2011, according to the department, information was received by the Director General of Income Tax (Investigation) Chandigarh from Paris indicating "association/connection" of the accused Raninder and his family members with certain foreign entities. According to the plea filed in the High Court, information revealed that Raninder had association with foreign entities like Jacaranda Trust, Mulwala Holding Limited, HSBC Private Bank Geneva and HSBC Financial Service Limited, Dubai .

The department has informed the HC in its plea that the copy of the Trust Deed revealed that the settlement of Trust was made in July 2005 between accused Raninder and HSBC Trust Company Limited and the beneficiaries of the Trust are the settler, settler's parents, the settler's children and others. It added that the Trust Deed was signed by Raninder as the settler of the Jacaranda Trust and Amarinder was listed was one of the beneficiaries being Raninder's father. The Trust is the "beneficial owner of/associated" with the British Virginia Islands (BVI)-based entities like Chillingham Holdings Limited, Allworth Venture Holdings Limited, Limerlock International Limited and Mulwala Holdings Limited. "A further perusal of the documents and the information obtained from the competent foreign authorities of BVI revealed that the said business entities were holding substantial financial assets like bank accounts in HSBC Private Bank (SUISSE) S.A Geneva and properties in UK, Dubai etc," the petition reads.