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HC allows I-T to scan Mayas assets
February, 14th 2009

In what could spell trouble for UP chief minister Mayawati, the Delhi high court on Friday gave the go ahead to the income
department to reassess her income for the financial year 2001-02.

A division bench of Justice Vikramjit Sen and Justice Rajiv Shakdhar dismissed the plea of the BSP supremo who had objected to the tax departments decision re-assessing her income saying that the mandatory notice was not served to her before re-opening the case. We have arrived at the firm conclusion that petitioner (Mayawati) has failed to disclose any grounds justifying the exercise of extraordinary jurisdiction vested in the court, the court said.

The bench also turned down Mayawatis plea that it was a fault of the I-T department due to which a notice was not served to her address. It is evident that the petitioner (Mayawati) declined to accept the notice firstly at her Humayun Road address in New Delhi and, secondly, at Nehru Road address in Lucknow and, thirdly, at Kalidas Marg in Lucknow. All three addresses belonged to her at the relevant time the court stated.

The chief minister had petitioned the high court against the revenue departments decision to re-assess her income for 2001-02. Mayawati had claimed in her petition that she did not receive any notice from the department which was mandatory under the provisions of the Income Tax Act, 1961, for reassessing the income.

The department initiated proceeding against me without serving me the notice which is mandatory in law. Income-tax department says very clearly that re-assessment cannot be done without issuing notice. So the proceeding is to set aside as it is also beyond the limitation period, senior counsel Harish Salve appearing for the BSP supremo had said. The revenue department, however, had refuted her contentions.

Notice was issued on March 24, last year, at her Humayun Road residence in Delhi but it was said that she had shifted to Lucknow. The notice was then sent by mail to her Nehru Road address. It was then re-directed to her chief ministerial residence at Kalidas Road and then it returned to the department, the income-tax department submitted through its counsel.

The BSP chief denied that she refused to receive the I-T departments notice. She also refuted the charge that the notice was re-directed by her to another address.

Ms Mayawati is also facing a case of alleged tax evasion in the high court for assessment year 2003-04. The Centre has come to the high court against an order of ITAT giving her a clean chit in the case. The government is maintaining that the gifts of about Rs 65 lakh presented to the BSP chief by her supporters should be bracketed with her annual taxable income.

Interestingly, Mayawati is also opposing a disproportionate assets case registered against her by the CBI in the Supreme Court. She has approached the apex court seeking quashing of the criminal proceedings against her in the case alleging it was registered by the agency at behest of Centre due to political vendetta.

The CBI, had, however, told the apex court that the agency has ample evidence to prosecute her in the case. It had registered a DA case against the BSP chief in 2003, alleging that the assets shown by her in the Akbarpur parliamentary constituency were worth over Rs one crore whereas the assets increased to over Rs 50 crore in her declaration papers submitted during the 2007 assembly polls.

The agency had told the court that on April 4, 2004, the BSP supremo in her affidavit filed before the returning officer for Akbarpur Lok Sabha constituency had declared that she had Rs 1.5 lakh cash, Rs 9.78 lakh bank deposits and properties worth Rs 1.25 crore in Delhi. Three years later, Mayawati had declared her wealth amounting to a whopping Rs 52 crore in yet another affidavit filed for contesting the assembly elections, CBI had pointed out.

There was a sudden jump of her wealth, the sources of which were not disclosed by Mayawati, CBI had said in its document annexed with the affidavit filed in the apex court.

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