The Delhi High Court on Monday, September 10 dismissed Congress President Rahul Gandhi and his mother Sonia Gandhi's plea challenging the income tax notice seeking tax reassessment for the financial year 2011-2012.
A bench comprising of Justice S Ravindra Bhat and Justice A K Chawla said the petitions filed by the Gandhis have "failed." However, the court clarified that the Gandhis could use their rights as the assessee and take up their grievance with the income tax authorities.
The order of a bench came while it was hearing the plea of Rahul, Sonia Gandhi and her party colleague Oscar Fernandes against the March I-T notice seeking tax reassessment. They have allegedly not disclosed their income earned through Young Indian Pvt Ltd (YI) for the year 2011-2012. The I-T department has told the court that they have concealed facts for evading tax.
Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi are major stakeholders in Young Indian which has acquired Associated Journals Limited (AJL). National Herald newspaper was published by AJL.
"The reference to the monetary nature of the transaction i.e. fair market value, certified by the auditor, means that the promoters and shareholders of the company visualise that the shares of YI, a not-for-profit company, can increase, depending on its activities and income derived by it," the court said.
"This court is of opinion that the assessees' argument about non-disclosure of their interest upon acquiring the shares is unpersuasive," said the bench. The court also rejected Sonia Gandhi's submission that the income tax department had mala fide intentions in sending the reassessment notice.
Earlier in March, Young Indian requested the court to stay the recovery of tax and interest of Rs 249.15 crore raised in pursuance to a December 27, 2017 notice issued under section 156 of the IT Act for the assessment year 2011-12. The company has submitted that it is a charitable firm and does not have any income and that income tax authorities have wrongly raised a demand of Rs 249 crore for the assessment year 2011-12.
On March 19, the Delhi High Court directed Young Indian to deposit Rs 10 crore in the Rs 249.15 crore income tax proceedings against the firm.
Bharatiya Janata Party leader Subramanian Swamy had filed a complaint of "cheating" in the acquisition of AJL. Swamy had accused them of allegedly conspiring to cheat and misappropriate funds by paying only Rs 50 lakh, by which Young Indian Pvt Ltd obtained the right to recover Rs 90.25 crore which AJL owed to the Congress.
The other accused in the case are Motilal Vora, Suman Dubey, Sam Pitroda and Young Indian.