Supreme Court deals a blow to firm associated with Robert Vadra in Income Tax evasion case

The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed a petition filed by Delhi based hospitality firm – Sky Light Hospitality LLP, where it challenged an Income Tax notice which sought the reassessment of its land deal profits in Haryana and Rajasthan for the year 2010-2011.

As per the Income Tax department’s tax evasion report, which was tabled before the Delhi High Court, the IT department had “reasons to believe” that about Rs 35 crores earned by the firm in 2010-11 had escaped the IT assessment.

This setback comes after Sky Light had got a similar result in form of a Delhi High Court’s dismissal of its petition back in February, regarding this matter.

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Sky Light Hospitality has attracted attention owing to it having Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law Robert Vadra as a partner. Following the dismissal by the High Court, Vadra was rendered open for being questioned by the I-T department along with other stakeholders in Sky Light Hospitality.

The Supreme Court bench of Justices A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan refused to interfere with the Delhi High Court order after a brief hearing regarding the matter. The High Court order had incidentally also instructed the company to join the proceedings before the IT assessing officer.

The High Court in its ruling had observed that after going through the arguments, the “reasons to believe” provided by the IT department were satisfactory to draw the inference that income had escaped assessment, thus a notice was required to be issued.

Sky Light Hospitality though contended that the IT department’s “reasons to believe” wasn’t enough to draw such a conclusion. To this, the High Court had contended that absolute certainty wasn’t needed for issuing the notice and that the stipulated reasons are invalid if they are based on suspicion, gossip or rumour. This wasn’t the case here, as according to the High Court, material and evidence were placed on record to justify the notice.

Incidentally, this isn’t the only controversy Sky Light Hospitality has had to contend with.

It had been reported that an individual linked to Sky Light Hospitality was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in December, in connection with the Bikaner Land Scam. The ED has a suspicion that large sums of money was laundered by people who bought land at cheap rates via forged documents.

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