The mother-son duo is heading for trouble as the Supreme Court has fixed April 23 for the final arguments on an appeal filed by Congress President Rahul Gandhi and his mother Sonia against the Delhi high court order allowing re-assessment of their Income Tax for 2011-12 in connection with the National Herald case.
The Gandhis had sought an adjournment of the hearing which was opposed by the Income Tax department, stressing on the need of a detailed hearing in the issue.
During the brief hearing, senior counsel Kapil Sibal and Arvind Datar denied the allegations levelled by the Income Tax Department while Solicitor General Tushar Mehta justified the decision to reopen their assessments.
The bench headed by Justice DY Chandrachud, while listing the matter for the final disposal, confirmed that the hearing in the case would be completed within two days.
In the last hearing on the matter on January 8, Income Tax Department (ITD) had informed the apex court that an assessment order (AO) with respect to the tax of Rahul and Sonia for 2011-12 in connection with the National Herald case has been passed but has not been given effect.
The Supreme Court had on December 4 2018, allowed the Income Tax Department to carry on with the exercise to reassess the tax of Rahul and Sonia for 2011-12 in the National Herald case.
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.
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.