IT assessement of Senior Congress leaders to be allowed by SC

The Supreme Court has given the Income Tax Department the permission to reopen the assessment for the financial year 2011-12 for senior Indian National Congress leaders Smt Sonia Gandhi, Shri Rahul Gandhi & Shri Oscar Fernandes.

The Court, however, clarified that the said assessment cannot be given effect to and no orders can be passed based on the same.

The order was passed by the Bench of Justices AK Sikri, Ashok Bhushan and S Abdul Nazeer.

The Centre, represented by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, opposed this order, to which he was told by Justices Sikri that the order is innocuous and in fact in Centre's favour.

The next date for the hearing is set on January 8, 2019.

The matter pertains to reassessment of the IT returns of the Gandhis and Fernandes in relation to the National Herald transaction.

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 on the same day for allegedly not disclosing income arising out of their status as shareholders in Young Indian for the AY 2011-2012.

It was the IT Department's case that the value of shares held by the Gandhis and Fernandes in Young Indian should have been calculated on the basis of its subsequent acquisition of the assets of Associated Journals Ltd. Hence, the department sought to re-open the assessment to compute the “fair market value” of the said shares.

In a judgement passed, the Delhi High Court Bench of Justices S Ravindra Bhat and AK Chawla allowed the Income Tax (IT) Department to re-assess the income tax of the Congress leaders.

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