National Herald case: trouble mounts for Sonia and Rahul Gandhi as SC allows re-assessment of tax files

The income tax department will re-open the tax assessment of the Gandhis for the financial year 2011-12

Trouble seems to be intensifying for Congress President Rahul Gandhi and mother Sonia Gandhi and close aide Oscar Fernandes, as the Supreme Court on Tuesday allowed the Income Tax department to continue with the tax re-assessment for the year 2011-12 in the National Herald case. A bench headed by Justice A K Sikri scheduled the next hearing for January 8, 2019.

The tax matter is related to the National Herald case in which the Congress leaders are also facing criminal proceedings.

The Gandhis had challenged a Delhi High Court order which dismissed their pleas against the Income Tax Department’s decision to re-open their tax assessment for the financial year 2011-2012 in connection with the National Herald Case. Congress leader Oscar Fernandes, too, has filed an appeal in the matter.

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Earlier in August, Rahul Gandhi had appeared in the Delhi High Court and challenged re-opening of his tax assessment, after the I-T department accused him of concealing his income in the years 2011-2012. The department had considered reopening Rahul’s case because he did not disclose his directorship in Young Indian Pvt Ltd (YI) since 2010.

The same day, Sonia Gandhi and Oscar Fernandes too had moved the Delhi High Court challenging the reopening of their assessments by the Income-Tax regarding the Young Indian- National Herald transactions.

As the judiciary is tightening the noose, things seem to be slipping out from the  Congress party bigwigs’ hands. Earlier too, we had reported how high-strung Gandhis had tried to oppose the Income Tax’ investigation into the National Herald case. Congress had also earlier reportedly threatened tax officials with legal consequences for asking “irrelevant questions” during their investigations. Baffled with so much going against them, the Congress president had asked the court to gag media on National Herald case which the Court in all earnestness had declined.

It is notable here that the income tax assessment cases against the Congress leaders relate to an investigation into the complaint filed by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy in connection with the National Herald case.

In the complaint, Swamy had accused Sonia and Rahul of conspiring to cheat and misappropriate funds by paying just Rs 50 lakh, through which Young India (YI) had obtained the right to recover Rs 90.25 crore that the Associated Journals Ltd (AJL) owed to the Congress party.

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