Exclusive: How the Gandhis tried to thwart Income Tax Dept’s investigation into National Herald case

Subramanian Swamy’s “nuclear bomb‘” in the National Herald case was finally out yesterday. Swamy produced in court an Income Tax assessment order against the Gandhi family owned company Young Indian. The findings of the order dated 27th December 2017, essentially underline what Swamy has been alleging and has been trying to prove in courts for so long. Thus it seems, the Tax department has done a lot of the work already.

Now, OpIndia.com has managed to access the 105 page Income Tax order, which details the proceedings. Besides some very serious observations, one can also see all the attempts made by the Gandhi’s to thwart and subvert the investigation. The Officer has recorded many such instances in the order itself.

1. The order states that upon receiving information from the Investigation wing, the Income Tax department re-opened the relevant year’s file for reassessment. At first, Young Indian (YI) raised objections against the reasons recorded in justifying the reopening. These objections were rejected by the tax department.

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2. Next, the order states, YI filed a writ petition, before the Delhi High Court, against the reopening of the matter. Upon hearing the case, the High Court “dismissed the writ petition as withdrawn”. The Tax department’s order quotes an extract of the High Court’s

3. Next, the tax department’s order states that initially a CA named Ankit Aggarwal attended the proceedings and later on, written replies were filed. Many times, YI instead of furnishing a reply in response to the notices began questioning legality of issue of notice and power of the officer to call for information. Thus, the requisite information was not filed at all.

4. The order then details the full timeline of the case. The order notes that even though 44 opportunities were allowed to YI and others, on several occasions, they either challenged the validity of notice or challenged right of the officer to call for information and on many issues “either no information or cryptic information was filed”

5. The order further notes that this non-cooperative attitude created huge problem in completing the investigation within a reasonable period of time. However, the order notes, that the request of YI seeking multiple adjournments was also allowed in order to enable it to file reply within time period suitable to it.

6. Next, the order cites an example of “deliberate non compliance” and an “effort to withhold information”. A letter signed off by Mr Oscar Fernandes for YI, is appended which shows YI making technical arguments as to why it will not submit documents. The letter also claims that a “so-called political activist  has been carrying on a campaign for witch-hunt”.

All of the above findings in the Income Tax order point in only one direction: Young Indian and its promoters, the Gandhis, tried all means available to stop, delay and hinder the Income Tax Department’s investigation. They approached the courts, questioned the officer’s authority, tried to file legal lacunae and also politicized the matter, to try and stop the inevitable.

Editorial team of OpIndia.com

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