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Court pulls up Income Tax Department for withholding information on foreign accounts
May, 29th 2015

A Delhi court today pulled up the Income Tax (IT) Department for withholding information on foreign bank accounts of those persons against whom it has filed complaints and slapped a fine of Rs 10,000 on it.

Directing the department to deposit the fine amount in the Prime Minister's Relief Fund, Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (ACMM) Devendra Kumar Sharma said the tax body was not placing complete documents, which could have evidentiary value, on record for reasons best known to it.

"In almost all the cases, the information is being withheld from the court in respect to the source of information of foreign bank account of the accused persons.

"Previously also, there has been direction time and again to place on record the copy of source of information so that no undue advantage to the accused persons may be there in future, reason being that in all the cases like in hand where the accused are having alleged bank accounts in foreign country, the argument is being advanced that there is no legally admissible evidence on record in respect to source of information," the court said.

The court's order came during the hearing of a fresh complaint filed by IT department against one Sanjiv Gupta for his failure to produce documents of his foreign bank account.

According to the complaint, Gupta was having Rs two crore in HSBC Bank in Geneva.

Maintaining that the department has not filed the complete documents relating to the complaint, the ACMM said there were several cases pending at the stage of taking cognizance for want of such documents, the court said.

"But documents are not being placed on record for reasons best known to the complainant department including the copy of the treaty, if any.

"Though time is being sought for placing the documents on record, however there is no explanation on behalf of the complainant as to why those documents pertaining to source of information having evidentiary value are not placed on record," the court said.

"In the circumstances, one more opportunity is given subject to cost of Rs 10,000 to be recovered from the complainant department and to be deposited with Prime Minister Relief Fund," it said, while fixing June 3 on the point of consideration.

The court is presently seized of several cases relating to foreign bank accounts involving high-profile accused, who are booked either for not disclosing income kept in foreign accounts or for failing to provide complete details of the accounts.

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