Adding to the problems of Delhi minister and senior AAP leader Satyendar Jain, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has said that the Income Tax department’s decision to invoke the Benami Property Transactions Act against him is correct.
In March last year, the I-T department had initiated action against Jain under the Benami Property Transactions Act and provisionally attached 123.16 bigha and 36.07 biswa land allegedly purchased by him under the name of three companies controlled by him.
Jain did not respond to calls or messages by The Sunday Express. In his plea filed in the High Court, Jain had said that the transactions were made between 2011 and March 2016 — before the amendment to the Benami property law. The amendment came into effect in November 2016.
The Delhi High Court, in October 2017, had asked the I-T department if it planned to examine all accommodation entries made before 2016 under the new Benami property law. The CBDT gave its view in the matter on January 16, saying: “… it is seen that the legal proposition of the Supreme Court as laid down in Bhim Singh vs Kan Singh AIR 1980 SC 727 is the correct view. In the instant case, the action of the department in invoking the Benami Act appears to be correct from the tests mentioned by the Supreme Court.”
“Further, the Board is of the opinion that the stand taken by the Initiating Officer in the matter may be defended so that the ambiguity, if any, can be resolved by the court. In case the stand is not defended, the benefit of interpretation of law by the Honourable High Court may be lost,” it said.
The CBDT also proposed that the matter be referred to the Ministry of Law for comments and inputs. The Ministry of Law, however, said that since the issue is sub judice, it was not the practice of the Department of Legal Affairs to tender advice. The next date of hearing in the matter is January 31.