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CIT vs. Lavanya Land Pvt. Ltd (Bombay High Court)
June, 30th 2017

S. 69C/ 153C: An admission of the assessee which is retracted cannot be the basis of addition. The allegations made by the authorities have to be supported by actual cash passing hands. The addition cannot be sustained in the absence of material which would conclusively show that huge amounts revealed from the seized documents are transferred from one side to another and if the Revenue did not bring on record a single statement of the vendors of the land in different villages and if none of the sellers has been examined to substantiate the claim of the Revenue that extra cash has actually changed hands

(i) The Tribunal considered the merits and once again, at great length. The particular argument revolving around the statement of Dilip Dherai and his answer to question No. 24 was also considered in paragraph 21 of the impugned order. Then, in paragraph 22, the Tribunal refers to the additions made under Section 69C. After reproducing Section 69C and adverting to the fact that Dilip Dherai has retracted his statement, the Tribunal arrived at the conclusion that merely on the strength of the alleged admission in the statement of Dilip Dherai, the additions could not have been made. The concurrent findings of fact would demonstrate that the essential ingredients of Section 69C of the IT Act enabling the additions were not satisfied. This is not a case of ‘no explanation’. Rather, the Tribunal concluded that the allegations made by the authorities are not supported by actual cash passing hands. The entire decision is based on the seized documents and no material has been referred which would conclusively show that huge amounts revealed from the seized documents are transferred from one side to another. In that regard, the Tribunal found that the Revenue did not bring on record a single statement of the vendors of the land in different villages. None of the sellers has been examined to substantiate the claim of the Revenue that extra cash has actually changed hands. It is in these circumstances that the Tribunal found that on both counts, namely, the legal issue, as also merits, the additions cannot be sustained.

(ii) We are of the opinion that the Revenue has rightly been faulted for its approach by the Tribunal. The above are pure findings of fact and consistent with the material placed on record. Thus, the jurisdiction and vesting in the Assessing Officer could have been exercised and the satisfaction in that regard was enough, are not matters which can be decided in the further appellate jurisdiction of this Court. It is not possible for us to reappraise and reappreciate the factual findings. The finding that Section 153C was not attracted and its invocation was bad in law is not based just on an interpretation of Section 153C but after holding that the ingredients of the same were not satisfied in the present case. That is an exercise carried out by the Tribunal as a last fact finding authority. Therefore, the finding is a mixed one. There is no substantial question of law arising from such an order and which alternatively considers the merits of the case as well.

 

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