The Supreme Court has said it will hear in August the appeals filed by Congress President Rahul Gandhi, United Progressive Alliance Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Congress leader Oscar Fernandes against the Delhi High Court order allowing reassessment of their income tax for 2011-’12 in connection with the National Herald case, Live Law reported.
“List the further hearing on this batch of appeals in the week commencing August 19,” the court said in its order on Tuesday.
Justices DY Chandrachud and Hemant Gupta, who are hearing the case, granted liberty to the petitioners to approach the Delhi Income Tax Appellate Tribunal for a speedy hearing of a pending appeal challenging the retrospective cancellation of Young Indian Private Limited’s registration. When Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain, appearing for the Income Tax department, appealed that hearings in the court “should not be linked with the outcome of the ITAT [the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal],” the judges told him: “Therefore, carefully we have not said that list the matter after decision of ITAT.”
The Gandhis were directors in the company that allegedly obtained the right to recover Rs 90.25 crore that Associated Journals Limited, the publishers of National Herald, owed to the Congress. Young Indian, which was incorporated in November 2010 with Rs 50-lakh capital, allegedly acquired almost all of Associated Journal’s shares. Calculating Rahul Gandhi’s shares in Young Indian, he should have had an income of Rs 154 crore and not about Rs 68 lakh as was assessed in 2011-’12, the tax department reasoned.
The Delhi High Court had allowed the tax department to investigate the two leaders along with Young India in 2017. In September, the court refused to grant the Gandhis relief against reopening of their income tax assessments, saying material facts had been concealed. Two months later, the top court allowed the tax department to reassess the Gandhis’ tax but restrained it from “giving effect” to the order.
Earlier this month, the top court stayed the Delhi High Court’s order to evict Associated Journals from the Herald House building in New Delhi. The Gandhis and Fernandes are out on bail in connection with the case.