The Lavasa family, including Election Commissioner Ashok Lavasa, has denied evasion of stamp duty as alleged by the I-T Department.
In a detailed response to questions shared by this newspaper, Shakuntala Lavasa, Ashok Lavasa’s sister and a paediatrician, said she had paid Stamp Duty of Rs 10,42,220 on the Gurugram property transferred in her name. She also said that she is not aware of the I-T Department’s investigation in this regard.
“It is unfortunate that law-abiding citizens who are hallmarks of integrity, duty, and patriotism are being maligned and harassed by such needless investigations on account of vague and baseless allegations for which irregular notices are being issued. I have already raised the issue of the validity of the notices being issued by the department in contravention of its own notified guidelines,” she said over email.
She added, “I have received certificates of appreciation from the Income Tax department continuously for the years 2016-17, 2017-18, and 2018-19. As per the Press Release of Ministry of Finance dated 19th Sept 2016, such certificates are given to ‘tax payments by … honest taxpayers… where taxes have been paid in full, and taxpayers have no outstanding tax liabilities”
Shakuntala Lavasa further said that any communication between the Income tax department and the assesses is confidential as per law and any selective leak of that information is a breach of “taxpayer’s confidentiality”. “It is apprehended that this is a motivated attempt to malign my reputation by leaking selective information,” she wrote.
“I would urge you to ask Income Tax Department that does stamp duty fall in its domain and what makes them so eager to investigate matters relating to state government? And what are the extraneous considerations that are guiding them in targeting me and my family?,” she wrote.
Novel Lavasa too asserted that stamp duty has been paid on the property transfer. “I would like to state that all transfers have been done by permission of competent authority and due stamp duty has been paid. While I think in my limited understanding that stamp Duty is not the jurisdiction of the I-T Dept, further supporting that they are doing these roving inquiries to humiliate and malign me and my family’s reputation,” she said in her response.
When contacted by The Indian Express over email, Ashok Lavasa replied, “There is no evasion of stamp duty, which has been paid as per applicable rates by the person liable to do it. It is for the department to ascertain facts and not indulge in selective leaks.”