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Delhi High Court rejects Gandhis’ I-T plea in National Herald case

12 May, 2017 9:03 PM
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NEW DELHI: In a setback to Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul, the Delhi high court on Friday declined to entertain a plea by Young Indian Pvt Ltd (YIL) challenging the Income Tax department notices served on the company, clearing the decks for an IT probe.

The Gandhis are the main stakeholders in YI and have been accused by BJP MP Subramanian Swamy of cheating and misappropriating funds linked to National Herald newspaper.

A bench of Justices S Muralidhar and Chander Shekhar said Young Indian should approach the IT authorities first and raise its grievances there rather than directly moving court.

"We are not inclined to entertain your writ petition. It is better you withdraw and approach the income tax assessing officer," the court observed while refusing relief.

"Don't be arrogant," it counselled the petitioners, pointing out that in case YI is unable to get relief from IT authorities, it can approach court.

But, as the company has not even approached the assessing officer, it should submit documents before the department.

Sensing the mood of the bench, senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for the firm, withdrew the petition, which was allowed by the court that termed it as "dismissed as withdrawn".

After a trial court allowed the I-T department to go ahead with its probe, YI had approached the HC seeking a direction to stay the IT proceedings and sought quashing of re-assessment notices issued against it with regard to the National Herald misappropriation of assets case.

The I-T department's move to issue notices followed its probe on Swamy's complaint alleging that the Gandhis had misappropriated the assets of Associated Journals Limited (AJL), including vast land holdings, while transferring their shares to the newly formed Young Indian.

Swamy's criminal complaint filed in court accuses the Gandhis and other Congress leaders of conspiring to cheat and misappropriate funds to take full control of AJL.

Swamy has argued that Young Indian, controlled by the Gandhis, purchased AJL for Rs 50 lakh, taking over the right to recover a loan of Rs 90.25 crore that AJL owed to Congress.

By being in controlling position in YI and Congress, the Gandhis and other leaders such as Motilal Vora, Oscar Fernandes, Suman Dubey and Sam Pitroda conspired to take over AJL with an eye on its huge properties, Swamy has claimed.

In HC, the I-T department too opposed the petition, arguing that the firm has not moved the assessing officer.


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