SC to hear Gandhis’ plea challenging Income Tax re-assessment on Dec 4
New Delhi: The Supreme Court today agreed to hear appeals of Congress President Rahul Gandhi, his mother Sonia Gandhi and former Union Minister Oscar Fernandes against their Income tax re-assessments for the year 2011-12, on December 4.
The trio has challenged the Delhi High Court order refusing them relief in a case of re-opening of their tax assessments for the year 2011-12.
The Gandhis and Fernandes were represented by Senior Counsel P Chidambaram, Kapil Sibal and Arvind Datar, while Solicitor General Tushar Mehta appeared for the Centre and I-T department.
P Chidambaram and Kapil Sibal told the court that “mere transfer of shares can’t be treated as income.”
After the short hearing, a bench comprising justices AK Sikri and SA Abdul Nazeer said, “Since the respondent (I-T department) has put in an appearance, we are not issuing a formal notice. However, we are fixing the matter for final arguments on December 4.” The court will decide whether the income tax notice served to the Gandhis’ is valid or not, an NDTV report said.
However, there is no formal stay on the tax assessment proceedings against the petitioners.
What is the case about?
The matter pertains to re-assessment of the I-T returns of the Gandhis and Fernandes in relation to the National Herald transaction.
Subramanian Swamy filed a criminal complaint against former AICC president Sonia Gandhi and her son and present president of AICC Rahul Gandhi in a court in Delhi on 1 November 2012. He alleged that the Gandhis have committed fraud and land grabbing worth Rs 16 billion by acquiring Associated Journals Limited (AJL), a public limited company, through their private company Young Indian (YI).
Sonia and Rahul Gandhi each own a 38 per cent stake in Young Indian.
Swamy has also named Oscar Fernandes, Suman Dubey, Sam Pitroda and Congress treasurer Motilal Vora in the case.
According to a report by Bar & Bench, the IT Department had issued a notice to Rahul Gandhi on March 31, 2018, for allegedly concealing information on his status as a Director of Young Indian Pvt Ltd. Gandhi’s shares in Young Indian allegedly resulted in an income of Rs. 154 crore, as opposed to the earlier assessed income of Rs. 68 lakh.
A similar notice was issued to Sonia Gandhi and Fernandes for allegedly not disclosing income arising out of their status as shareholders in Young Indian for the AY 2011-2012.
Rahul Gandhi had challenged the Income Tax (IT) department’s authority to reopen his tax assessment. But the Delhi High Court, on September 10, rejected his plea. The tax assessment relates to National Herald and Young India transactions for the financial year 2011-2012.