Bogus penny stocks capital gain: The s. 131 statement implicating the assessee is not sufficient to draw an adverse inference against the assessee when the documentary evidence in the form of contract notes, bank statements, STT payments etc prove genuine purchase and sale of the penny stock. Failure to provide cross-examination is a fatal error
(i) The lower authorities had placed heavy reliance on the statement of Sh. Mukesh Choksi (supra), wherein the latter had admitted that the aforesaid companies, viz. Mahasasgar Securities P. Ltd. and Alliance Intermediaries & Network P. Ltd. were floated by him and were used as facilitator in furtherance of his business of providing accommodation entries. We though are persuaded to be in agreement with the observations of the lower authorities, that in the backdrop of the admission made by Sh. Mukesh Chokshi (supra) in his statement recorded u/s 131, there can be no doubt as regards the state of affairs of his business, but then this leads us to the issue that as to whether such a stand alone statement of the aforesaid person could be used for drawing of adverse inferences as regards the genuineness and veracity of the share transactions carried out by the assessee through him. We are of the considered view that as the name of the assessee was figuring in the list of the persons who had transacted share transactions through the aforesaid companies, viz. Mahasasgar Securities P. Ltd. and Alliance Intermediaries & Network P. Ltd., therefore, in the backdrop of the fact that the said respective companies were found to be carrying on the business of providing accommodation entries by the department, therefore the said facts would undoubtedly suffice and be a clinching basis for the A.O to form a bonafide ‘belief’ that the assessee being a beneficiary, too would have fudged the transactions, therein vesting with him the necessary jurisdiction to initiate reassessment proceedings in the hands of the assessee u/s 147 of the ‘Act’. We however are unable to persuade ourselves to subscribe to the view that such information arrived at on the basis of the stand alone statement of the aforesaid person, viz. Sh. Mukesh Chokshi (supra), falling short of any corroborative evidence would however justify drawing of adverse inferences as regards the genuineness of the share transactions in the hands of the assessee.
(ii) We though are also not oblivious of the settled position of law, as per which a very heavy onus is cast upon the assessee to substantiate the LTCG on sale of shares, as projected by her in the return of income for the year under consideration. Thus to be brief and explicit, though the reopening of the case of the assessee in the backdrop of the aforesaid factual matrix cannot be faulted with, however such stand alone information, i.e the statement of Sh. Mukesh Chokshi (supra), cannot be allowed to form the sole basis for dislodging the claim of the assessee in respect of the LTCG reflected by her in the return of income for the year under consideration. We would not hesitate to observe that the lower authorities which have hushed through the facts to arrive at a conclusion on the basis of principle of preponderance of human probability, had however absolutely failed to appreciate that the said principle could have been validly applied only on the basis of a considerate view as regards the facts of the case in totality, and not merely on the basis of the stand alone statement of the aforesaid third party, viz. Sh. Mukesh Choksi.
(iii) We would now in the backdrop of our aforesaid observations test the claim of the assessee in respect of the LTCG on sale of shares as stands reflected in her return of income, after carrying out a conjoint perusal of the facts borne from record. We find that the following material facts and issues militates against the validity of the view arrived at by the A.O in context of the genuineness of the share transactions and the LTCG emerging there from, which factors will have a strong bearing on the adjudication of the issue under consideration.
(iv) We further not being oblivious of the fact that the assessee who had claimed generation of income under the ‘LTCG’ on sale of scrips of M/s Talent Infoway Ltd. in her return of income, thus remained under a statutory obligation to substantiate the said claim. We further find that on the basis of following material which was furnished by the assessee before the lower authorities, it can safely be concluded that the assessee had duly discharged the onus as stood cast upon her to prove the factum of generation of income under head LTCG, as claimed by her in the return of income for the year under consideration.
(v) We have given thoughtful consideration to the facts of the case and are of the considered view that the assessee had placed on record substantial documentary evidence to substantiate the genuineness and veracity of the purchase and sale of 10,200 shares of M/s Talent Infoways Ltd., viz. copy of the Contract note, dated. 15.04.2004 evidencing the purchase of shares; Copy of the contract note, dated. 06.04.2004 as regards the speculation income, and the copy of the cash receipt for Rs. 168/-; Copy of her account in the books of account of M/s MSPL; Copy of the letter from M/s Talent Infoways Ltd., dated. 29.05.2004, therein confirming the transfer of shares; Copy of the contract notes for sale of shares in the months of September and October, 2005; Copy of the bank statement evidencing receipt of payment for sale of shares; Copy of STT paid statements on the shares of M/s Talent Infoways Ltd ; Copy of its account as appearing in the books of account of M/s Alliance Intermediateries & Network Pvt. Ltd. evidencing the sale of the shares of M/s Talent Infoways Ltd.; Copy of delivery instructions of shares to the depository for dematerialization of the shares; and Copy of the return of income alongwith the computation of income for A.Y. 2005-06, which revealed the speculation income of Rs. 15,975/-, and the fact of purchase of 10,200 shares of M/s Talent Infoways Ltd, alongwith the source of purchase.
(vi) We find that the aforesaid substantial documentary evidence placed on record by the assessee, which as a matter of fact supported the entire chain of events of purchase and sale of 10,200 shares of M/s Talent Infoways Ltd. by the assessee, was however never rebutted by the A.O on the basis of any concrete and irrebutable evidence which could go to inescapably disprove the genuineness of the said documents which were brought on record by the assessee We find that the A.O had rather chosen to merely rely on the stand alone statement of Sh. Mukesh Choksi (supra) and taking the same as gospel truth, had therein drawn adverse inferences in the hands of the assessee by merely referring to the said statement of Sh. Mukesh Choksi (supra). We though do not approve of the reliance placed by the A.O on the stand alone statement of Sh. Mukesh Choksi (supra) for drawing of adverse inferences in respect of the share transactions carried out by the assessee during the year under consideration, but rather find that even no cross examination of Sh. Mukesh Choksi (supra), whose statement was so heavily being relied upon by the A.O, was ever provided to the assessee. We find that the failure on the part of the A.O to provide cross examination of the person, relying on whose statement adverse inferences are drawn in the hands of the assessee goes to the very root of the validity of such adverse inferences drawn in the hands of the assessee, had been looked into by the Hon’ble High Court of Bombay in the case of CIT-13 Vs. M/s Ashish International (ITA No 4299 of 2009; dated. 22.02.2011), wherein the order of the Tribunal was affirmed by the Hon’ble High Court. We thus in the backdrop of our aforesaid observations, are neither able to persuade ourselves to subscribe to the adverse inferences drawn by the lower authorities in respect of the share transactions of the assessee by referring to the stand alone statement of Sh. Mukesh Choksi, as the same as observed by us hereinabove, suffer from serious infirmities, and as such cannot be summarily accepted, nor are able to dislodge the genuineness of the purchase and sale of shares of the aforesaid 10,200 shares of M/s Talent Infoways Ltd., which we find had been duly substantiated by the assessee on the basis of material made available on record, which we find had not been dislodged by the lower authorities. We thus in the backdrop of the totality of the facts of the case are unable to find ourselves to be in agreement with the view arrived at by the lower authorities.