In a setback to the Congress in the National Herald case, the Delhi High Court Friday declined to stay Income Tax proceedings against Young Indian Pvt Ltd whose major stakeholders are party president Sonia Gandhi and vice president Rahul. Making it clear that tax proceedings in the case will continue, the bench of Justices S Muralidhar and Chander Shekhar said: “We are not inclined to entertain your writ petition. It is better that you withdraw it and approach the income tax assessing officer.”
The bench said the company had not moved the assessing officer and raised its grievances, so it should first approach the I-T department and submit its documents. In case it was not satisfied, the company could always move the court, the bench said.
Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, who appeared for the company, withdrew the petition which was allowed by the court that termed it “dismissed as withdrawn”.
Young Indian (YI), which was incorporated in November 2010 with a capital of Rs 50 lakh, had acquired almost all the shareholding of the Associated Journal Ltd (AJL), which is the owner of the National Herald newspaper.
BJP MP Subramanian Swamy, in a private criminal complaint filed before a trial court, had accused the Gandhis and others of conspiring to cheat and misappropriate funds by paying just Rs 50 lakh, through which YI had obtained the right to recover Rs 90.25 crore which the AJL owed to the Congress party.
YI had approached the High Court seeking a direction to stay the I-T proceedings and quashing of re-assessment notice issued against it with regard to the National Herald misappropriation of assets case.
Soon after the High Court order, the Congress accused the Centre of spreading misinformation. “I sometimes wonder if the government does not have better things to do with governance in this country than to circulate unsigned notes of briefing to all of you which are actually campaigns of misinformation and distortion,” Singhvi, donning the role of a Congress leader, told reporters at the AICC briefing.
He said YI had approached the court because the I-T department had in 2014 sought to reopen tax assessment six years older. He said a notice was issued based on “two queries about a company”. Singhvi said he had withdrawn the case as the High Court, in its written orders, said that all points raised by Young Indian can be raised before the I-T department including the point that it had no reason to believe to reopen the case. “In view of the matter, because of that, I withdrew the writ,” he said.
(With PTI inputs)