Sonia Gandhi, Oscar Fernandes Move High Court In National Herald IT Case

The separate petitions filed by Mrs Gandhi and Mr Fernandes are listed for hearing tomorrow before a bench of Justices S Ravindra Bhat and AK Chawla.

Sonia Gandhi, Oscar Fernandes Move High Court In National Herald IT Case

A similar plea was filed earlier by Congress President Rahul Gandhi (File)

New Delhi:

Former Congress President Sonia Gandhi and party leader Oscar Fernandes today moved the Delhi High Court challenging the reopening of their assessments by the Income tax Department regarding the Young Indian-National Herald transactions.

The separate petitions filed by Mrs Gandhi and Mr Fernandes are listed for hearing tomorrow before a bench of Justices S Ravindra Bhat and AK Chawla.

A similar plea filed earlier by Congress President Rahul Gandhi is also listed for hearing tomorrow before the same bench.

The court had on August 8, listed Rahul Gandhi's plea for hearing tomorrow after Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Tushar Mehta had opposed issuance of any interim order by the court.

The bench had rejected the oral plea of Mr Gandhi's lawyers to prohibit the media from reporting or publishing the court proceedings.

According to the tax department, Mr Gandhi's assessment for the years 2011-12 was decided to be reopened as he did not disclose that he was a director in the company -- Young Indian Pvt Ltd (YI) -- since 2010.

As per the department, the shares Rahul Gandhi has in YI would lead him to have an income of Rs 154 crore and not about Rs 68 lakh, as was assessed by it earlier.

The department has in the instant case applied section 147 of the Income Tax Act, which provides for bringing under the tax net any income which has escaped assessment in the original assessment.

Rahul Gandhi's lawyers had said the query put to their client during the scrutiny of his assessment was whether he had any interest in any company or sister concern in which he was a director. He had replied in the negative as YI was a Section 25 company, a non-profit entity, and hence no director would have any interest in it.

The tax department has already issued a demand notice for Rs 249.15 crore to YI for the assessment year 2011-12.

YI, which was incorporated in November 2010 with a capital of Rs 50 lakh, had acquired almost all the shareholding of Associated Journal Ltd (AJL), the owner of the National Herald newspaper.

The IT department's move followed its probe on a complaint alleging that the Gandhis had misappropriated AJL's assets while transferring their shares to the newly formed Young Indian.

BJP MP Subramanian Swamy, in a private criminal complaint filed before a trial court, had accused Sonia and Rahul Gandhi and others of conspiring to cheat and misappropriate funds by paying just Rs 50 lakh, through which the YI had obtained the right to recover Rs 90.25 crore which the AJL owed to the Congress party.

All the accused, also including Motilal Vora, Oscar Fernandes, Suman Dubey and Sam Pitroda, have denied the allegations levelled against them.