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Income Tax Tribunal rejects plea by Gandhis in National Herald tax evasion case, says Young Indian is not a charitable organisation

The plea came after the tax department slapped a Rs 100 crore tax notice on the mother-son duo in the AJL case in January 2019, stating that they had “escaped” incomes the tune of hundreds of crores in 2011-12.

Coming as a major jolt for the Congress party, the Income Tax Tribunal today rejected the demand for tax exemption made by the Gandhi scions. The plea came after the tax department had slapped a Rs 100 crore tax notice on the mother-son duo Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi in the AJL case in January 2019, stating that they had “escaped” incomes the tune of hundreds of crores in 2011-12.

The tribunal, while hearing the case, held that the company’s activities cannot be termed charitable and ordered to reopen the Rs 100 crore tax file.

According to the copy of the order of the Income Tax Tribunal hearing the case which has been accessed by Times Now, the Gandhi family had refused to declare Rs 100 crore as their income, claiming that Young Indian is a charitable trust and therefore it should be exempt from tax payments.

The tribunal has asserted that the activities which were being carried out in the company do not fall under the category of a charitable institution. Therefore, the applicants’ demand for tax exemption is rejected.

In January 2019, the income tax department had passed an order for a reassessment of their incomes regarding Associated Journals Limited (AJL) and had slapped a Rs 100 crore tax notice on Sonia and Rahul Gandhi, stating, that UPA Chairperson and Congress President have “escaped” a tax liability of around Rs 100 crore.

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.

Also Read- Acquisition of AJL by Young India a ‘clandestine and surreptitious transfer of lucrative interest, dishonest and fradulent’: Delhi HC

The mother-son duo had 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.

The National Herald case is an ongoing case in a Delhi court against Congress supremo’s Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, their companies and associated persons.

As per the complaint filed in the court of the Metropolitan Magistrate, Associated Journal Limited (AJL) took an interest-free loan of Rs 90.25 crores from Indian National Congress. It is alleged that the loan was not repaid. A closely held company, the Young Indian Company, which was incorporated in November 2010 with a capital of Rs 50 lakh had acquired almost all the shareholding of AJL and all its properties (alleged to be worth Rs 5,000 crores). BJP’s Subramanian Swamy, who had filed the case, alleged criminal misappropriation by both Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi.

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