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HC dismisses petition of Sukh Ram against Income Tax dept

Written by: Staff
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New Delhi, June 06 (UNI) The Delhi High Court has dismissed an appeal of former Communication Minister Sukh Ram against the order of the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT) seeking quashing of the demand for more tax from him for his income between 1987-88 and 1997-98.

While dismissing the petition, Justice Madan B Lokur and Justice Vipin Sanghi observed that it was not possible to reappreciate the evidence, particularly when the assessee had not been able to show any perversity in the order passed by the Tribunal.

''The issue has been decided purely on facts. We are of the view that no substantial question of law arises for our consideration,'' the Bench held.

While investigating the Rs 4000 crore telecom scam, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) recovered Rs 2.45 crore and Rs 1.16 crore from the residential premises of Sukh Ram at Delhi and Mandi in Himachal Pradesh respectively on August 16, 1996.

Initially Sukh Ram, who served as a Minister in Narasimha Rao cabinet, denied that the money belonged to him.

But later he said that he had collected the funds for the Congress Party.

However, both the then Congress President Sitaram Kesri and party treaurer Ahmed Patel said the funds did not belong to the party and the party had never authorised him to collect party funds.

As the statements of the Congress leaders were not retracted, the Tribunal held that the cash belonged to Sukh Ram.

The Revenue Department was entitled to draw a presumption against the assessee in respect of the cash found but since the presumption was rebuttable, an opportunity was given to him to rebut the statutory presumption, the order said.

The Tribunal had also noted that the books of accounts of the Congress which were verified didn't show any connection with the cash recovered from the assesse.

Sukh Ram would have to pay tax on the amount which is still lying in the court custody pending the disposal of the case.

UNI PAT MSJ VV1703

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