In a major embarrassment to Congress party, the Income Tax department has stated that UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Congress President Rahul Gandhi have “escaped” a tax liability of around Rs 100 crore, reported Times of India.
An income tax order following the reassessment of their incomes regarding Associated Journals Limited (AJL) states that the mother-son duo had “escaped” incomes the tune of hundreds of crores in 2011-12, said a report on Wednesday.
The amount of tax liability on both Sonia and Rahul Gandhi was pegged at Rs 155.4 crore and Rs 154.96 crore for the same year. This staggering amount is reportedly over the stated income of both Sonia and Rahul Gandhi. Rahul Gandhi had filed a return of income declaring Rs 68.1 lakh while Congress leader Oscar Fernandes had declared Rs 48.9 crore.
The Supreme Court is hearing an appeal of Congress leaders against the reopening of their tax assessment. Appearing for Sonia, P Chidambaram said a tax liability of Rs 44 crore against her had been erroneously imposed after reassessing her income. He said that assessing officers had concluded that Rs 141 crore of her income relating to AJL “escaped” as she did not declare it in filing her return.
Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram, who is also being investigated in the INX scam, challenging the reopening of the tax assessment before a bench headed by Justice A K Sikri, he had said that Income Tax officials’ decision defied “common sense” after they had concluded that Sonia Gandhi had an “escaped income” of Rs 141 crore in exchange of 1,900 shares in Non-profitable Organisation ‘Young Indian’ (YI).
Chidambaram contended that the only asset of the company was the debt of Rs 90 crore but the I-T department erroneously fixed that as Rs 407 crore.
The mother-son duo has submitted that they have no legal obligation to give details of their shares in Young India as they do not form any “interest” in a company. They had also claimed that the shareholding in Young India will not result in any interest that needs disclosure as the shareholder and also does not yield dividends or interest in the property of such a company as it a non-profit and charitable company.
On Tuesday, the Supreme Court granted one week’s time to the Gandhi family to file their affidavit following which the I-T Department will file its response in the National Herald case. The next hearing of this case is on January 29 and they will have to file the affidavit on their claims that the CBDT on 4th January wrongly withdrew a 31st December circular that would have led to their exoneration in the National Herald tax assessment case.