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Commissioner Of Income Tax Vs. M/s.JRD Stock Brokers Pvt. Ltd.
September, 13th 2018

Subject: Mr. Singh submitted firstly that the reduction of the commission rate substantially,

Referred Sections:
Section 260A of the Income Tax Act,
Section 68 of the Income Tax Act.
Section 69 of the Income-tax Act.
Section 66

Referred Cases / Judgments
Mohammad Hanif v. Commissioner Of Income-Tax (1963) 50 ITR 1 (SC)
Commissioner of Income Tax v. D.K. Garg 2018 (404) ITR 757 (Del).
Bhaiyalal Shyam Bihari v. CIT (supra),

 

*      IN THE HIGH COURT OF DELHI AT NEW DELHI

                                               Reserved on: 07.09.2018
                                            Pronounced on : 12.09.2018

+      ITA 544/2005

       COMMISSIONER OF INCOME TAX                ......Appellant
               Through: Mr. Raghavendra Singh, Advocate.

                   Versus

       M/S. JRD STOCK BROKERS PVT. LTD.            .....Respondents
                  Through: Sh. M.P. Rastogi, Sh. K.N. Ahuja and Sh.
                  Manu Giri, Advocates.

       CORAM:
       HON'BLE MR. JUSTICE S. RAVINDRA BHAT
       HON'BLE MR. JUSTICE A.K. CHAWLA

MR. JUSTICE S. RAVINDRA BHAT

%

1.     The question of law, framed in this appeal by the revenue ­ under
Section 260A of the Income Tax Act, 1961 ("the Act" hereafter) is:
       "Whether the order passed by the ITAT to the extent the same
       deletes the additions made by the assessing officer suffers from
       perversity?"

2.     The facts necessary to decide the case are that the assessee, a
Chartered Accountant was also a member of Delhi Stock Exchange; he
commenced business in 1990. He later converted the proprietorship concern
into a Joint Stock Company by the name of M/ s J.R.D Stock Brokers (Pvt.)
Ltd. A search was conducted on 24.11.2000. During course of search, the



ITA 544/2005                                                         Page 1 of 15
assessee accepted that he had been providing accommodation entries to
various parties and has opened fictitious bank accounts for which amounts
were deposited in cash which were later on transferred into his concern -
M/s. Ashok Gupta and Co. The Assessing Officer (hereafter "AO") brought
to tax ` 3,99,35,142/ - on account of unexplained cash/ credit in the bank
accounts by invoking the provisions of Section 68 of the Income Tax Act.
The AO also made an addition of ` 76,82,551/- being the 1.5% commission
of `51,21,70,060/-, the amount, which represented the total turnover of the
period in question. On appeal, both additions were upheld by the
CIT(Appeals). The ITAT, whom the assessee had approached held that the
addition of `3,99,35,142/ - was not justified; it was of the opinion that
Section 68 was inapplicable. On the other issue, the ITAT reduced the rate
of commission from 1.5% to 0.60%. For doing so, ITAT relied on its order
passed in M/s. JRD Stock Brokers (Pvt.) Ltd., against which revenue filed an
appeal before this court (ITA No. 544/05).
3.     During the hearing of the appeal, two issues were broadly argued:
one, the reduction of the commission (from 1.5 % to 0.6%) and the other, the
deletion of the sum brought to tax, by the revenue, under Section 68 of the
Act. Mr. Singh submitted firstly that the reduction of the commission rate
substantially, was without reason and, therefore, deserved to be set aside. He
submitted that when both the tax authorities had concurred on the issue, the
ITAT should not have interfered with the exercise of its discretion. On this
aspect, the court is of opinion that no fault can be found with the ITAT. The
total turnover brought to tax (on which the commission rate was to be
applied) was over ` 100 crores. Although both lower authorities did impose
a higher commission rate, their orders too show that this was based on some



ITA 544/2005                                                        Page 2 of 15
rough and ready estimate; in these circumstances, the ITAT's decision to
reduce the commission cannot be regarded as an error of law, calling for
correction.
4.     On the second issue, it was contended that the ITAT fell into error in
holding that the addition under Section 68 was unwarranted. Counsel urged
that there is no anomaly in bringing to tax amounts on one or other head of
income and also, additionally holding that Section 68 applied. Mr.
Raghavendra Singh, learned counsel for the revenue, relied on Kale Khan
Mohammad Hanif v. Commissioner Of Income-Tax (1963) 50 ITR 1 (SC) in
this regard. It was submitted that the assessment record shows that the feeder
accounts were opened either in the name of employees or in the name of
persons who give their names for consideration and operate at the instruction
of Mr. Ashok Gupta. Moreover, these persons have completely denied of
having any knowledge of transactions in such bank accounts.
5.     Counsel pointed out the findings of the lower revenue authorities; it
was submitted that under section 68, when a cash credit entry appeared in
the assessee's books of accounts, the assessee was under an obligation to
explain it to the satisfaction of the AO. In absence of such satisfactory
explanation or failure to tender evidence, the AO could hold that income was
income from undisclosed sources. The assessee had to establish prima facie
the transactions, which resulted in cash credit in its books of account. This
was proof of identity, capacity of creditors to advance and genuineness of
the transaction. In the present case, neither the capacity of the creditors was
proved nor the genuineness of the transaction was established as the assessee
admitted that the transactions were bogus. Thus, the onus upon the assessee
to prove the cash deposit in the bank accounts was not discharged.



ITA 544/2005                                                         Page 3 of 15
6.     Counsel for the assessee, Mr. Rastogi urged that Kale Khan (supra)
had no application to the facts of this case. It was argued that having once
assessed and brought to tax the larger amount of ` 104 crore, the AO could
not have carved out a "peak credit" amount from amongst that turnover,
based on aggregate of the amounts in the assessee's account in a particular
year, to give treatment under Section 68 of the Act. He relied on the ITAT's
observations, relying on its previous order, in this regard.
7.     On appeal, the CIT (A) held that the assessee's argument with respect
to treatment of peak credit during the period, i.e. the block assessment years,
for the purpose of Section 68 was justified, observing as follows:


       "7.1 These grounds of appeal relate to estimation of appellant's
       undisclosed income on the basis of peak cash credit at
       Rs.7,13,96,210/ -.

       7.2 The A.R. submitted that the determination of peak and
       valuation thereof is neither correctly determined nor required
       to be made under Chapter XIV B. The addition, if any, required
       was to be made in the hands of the beneficiaries and not in the
       hands of the appellant. As per Section 68, addition under this
       section was required to be made on the basis of entries in the
       books of accounts and not on the basis of bank statement.
       Moreover, the addition made is without any evidence or proof
       to establish the fact that the deposits represents appellant's
       undisclosed income.

       7.3 The A.R. further argued that the deposits represent
       deposits of money received from beneficiaries for exchange of
       Cheque as the entire business of the appellant is exchange of
       money for money, which does not call for any addition. It was
       submitted that since all the transactions have been treated as
       business and cash assumed to be deposited by the beneficiaries,
       there is nothing, which can be added in the appellant's hand



ITA 544/2005                                                         Page 4 of 15
       and any addition, if required, is to be made only in those
       accounts where the appellant has no business connection.
       Reliance was also placed on the block assessment of Mr. Manoj
       Aggarwal where no such addition was made.






       7.4 I have gone through the submissions made by the
       appellant. The assessment record shows that the feeder
       accounts were opened either in the name of employees or in the
       name of persons who land their names for consideration and
       operated at the instruction of Mr. Ashok Gupta. Moreover,
       these persons have completely denied of having any knowledge
       of transactions in such bank accounts.

       7.5 Regarding bank statement cannot be treated as books of
       accounts; the appellant's contention is not maintainable on the
       ground that the alleged accounts books and annual accounts
       showing such entries are also made on the basis of these bank
       accounts.

       XXXXXX                   XXXXXX                    XXXXXX

       7.7 The issue is to be decided is whether the addition under
       Section 68 had rightly been made or not. As per section 68,
       when a cash credit entry appears in the appellant's books of
       accounts, the appellant is under legal obligation to explain the
       same that too to the satisfaction of the A.O. In case the
       appellant did not offer any explanation or fails to tender
       evidence or burkes an enquiry then the A.O. can hold that
       income as income from undisclosed sources. It is thus,
       imperative for the appellant to prove prima facie the
       transactions, which resulted in cash credit in its books of
       account. Such proof includes proof of identity, capacity of
       creditors to advance and genuineness of the transaction. In
       case these three basic ingredients have been proved then only
       the onus would have been treated as discharged. Whereas in
       the present case neither the capacity of the creditors was
       proved not the genuineness of the transaction was established
       as the appellant himself admitted the transactions were made




ITA 544/2005                                                        Page 5 of 15
       with mala fide intentions. Thus, the onus lied upon the
       appellant to prove the cash found deposited in the bank
       accounts was not discharged either before the A.O. or before
       me.

       7.8 Keeping in view the facts narrated above, in my opinion,
       in absence of any supporting/ corroborative evidences, the A.O.
       was justified in making addition of peak cash credit of
       Rs.7,30,71,530/ -. Accordingly, the order of the A.O. is
       confirmed on this ground."

8.     The ITAT's decision in this case, directing the deletion of `
3,99,35,142/-, was based on the fact that its previous order in the same block
assessment period (Delhi Bench "G" in IT(SS) 54/Del/2004 dated
30.11.2004) had held as follows:


       "22. We have given careful thought to the rival submissions of
       the parties. At the very outset we hold that provision of sec. 68
       of the Income-tax Act has no application. The addition has been
       made not for any cash credits in the books of accounts of the
       assessee but for peak of credits in the bank accounts of the
       assessee. The provision in question (section 68) could not be
       applied on credits in books of account of bank. If at all,
       addition could be made, the same could be made under section
       69 of the Income-tax Act. On facts of the case, we are of the
       view that no addition of peak cash credits is justified in this
       case. The reason being that the revenue has practically
       accepted the case of the assessee that it was mainly carrying on
       the business of providing accommodation entries of share loss/
       share profit through fictitious entries and this way had carried
       total transactions worth more than Rs 104 crores. The assessee
       further claimed that it received cash from its clients and gave
       them cheques of profit or loss in share dealings to give genuine
       colour from fictitious transactions. Thus when case of the
       assessee has been accepted and total turnover taken at more
       that Rs 104 crores for computing income from transactions, we



ITA 544/2005                                                         Page 6 of 15
       see no justification for not accepting case relating to credit of
       less than Rs 8 Crores in the accounts of the assessee. On facts
       of the case above credits cannot be treated as unexplained.
       These are part and parcel of total credits of Rs 104 crores duly
       accepted by the revenue for computing assessee's commission
       income. Besides cash received from the clients was credited in
       various bank accounts described as main/ feeder / fictitious
       accounts maintained by the assessee in the names of his
       employees like Surinder Rawat etc. Admittedly from the above
       account cash was brought to the bank account of the assessee.
       Therefore, as far as credit entries in the bank account of the
       assessee are concerned, these are explained with reference to
       the cash available in the main or feeder accounts. The addition
       for unaccounted cash is made, if any, in the feeder/main
       accounts which have been treated by the revenue as benami
       accounts of the assessee if the case of the assessee that its
       clients gave cash to the assessee for getting cheques supported
       by fictitious entries of profit/loss in share dealing was not
       accepted. But as stated earlier, the case pleaded by the assessee
       as per statement of Shri Ashok Gupta recorded under sec.
       132(4) has been accepted. In this connection, reference is
       invited to observation In the assessment orders and that of the
       order of Ld. CIT(A). A portion of the said order has been
       reproduced in para 5 above. Thus, when cash credits have been
       accepted in feeder/fictitious accounts there is no question of
       making addition for cash credits in bank accounts. These cash
       credits have proximity can be treated as unexplained with
       reference to deposit/withdrawals from feeder accounts. The
       assessee is also entitled off set of the commission income added
       in the hands of the assessee. Thus considered from any angle we
       see no justification for sustaining addition for peak credits
       under section 68 of the Income-tax Act. The same is directed to
       be deleted."

9.     In Kale Khan (supra) the facts were that the assessee, a trader was
carrying on two businesses, (general merchandise and bidis). He had income
from property too. Four of the years concerned, he had submitted a return;




ITA 544/2005                                                         Page 7 of 15
however, his accounts were not found complete and reliable. The AO
assessed the gross profits of the businesses on the basis of certain percentages
of the total sales which had also to be fixed by estimates. This was not
questioned. Later, while dealing with another year, the AO noted that various
credit entries in the assessees' books of account that appeared to have
escaped his attention at the time of the assessment for the concerned years
mentioned. The entries were (i) Gold Khata- `41,300 (ii) Ghar Khata-
`33,000 /- (iii) Mohammad Islam Khata ` 10,000/- (iv) Muslim Bi Khata
`11,000. The total for the year was ` 95,300. Likewise, for the other year
(1947-48) these were an aggregate of `39,575.The AO duly re-opened the
assessments in respect of these years and after giving the assessee
opportunity to explain the nature of these entries made fresh assessments. In
the fresh assessments, he added to the previously estimated incomes the said
sum of ` 95,300 in respect of the year 1945-46 and the said sum of ` 39,575
in respect of the year 1947-48, as he was unable to accept the explanation
offered by the assessee in support of his contention that the credit entries did
not represent income. The Supreme Court dealt with the assessee's
submission that the amount brought to tax as undisclosed could have been,
since income was previously assessed on percentage basis. The Court held as
follows:
       "We have now to deal with the last question, question No.6,
       which, as framed in the case for the assessment year 1945-46,
       is set out below :

               "Whether having regard to the fact that the
               Income-tax Officer has assessed the income on a
               percentage basis, he was justified in treating the




ITA 544/2005                                                         Page 8 of 15
               said sums of Rs. 41,300 and Rs. 11,000 as profits
               from an undisclosed source ?"

       In the case for the assessment year 1947-48 the corresponding
       question was in identical terms except that the figures
       mentioned in it were Rs. 19,575 and Rs. 20,000. The High
       Court answered the question in the affirmative, and in our view
       rightly, for we do not think that any other answer is possible.
       We are in some difficulty in appreciating the point of this
       question also. The question would seem to suggest that because
       the income from a disclosed source has been computed on the
       basis of an estimate and not on the basis of the return filed in
       respect of it, an income represented by a credit entry in the
       books of account of that source cannot be held to be income
       from another and undisclosed source. We do not see why it
       cannot be so held. It appears from the judgment of the High
       Court that the reason given in support of the suggestion was
       that if that income was held to be income of an undisclosed
       source, the result would be double taxation of the same income
       which the Income Tax Act does not contemplate. Apparently, it
       was said that there would be double taxation because it was
       assumed that the same income had once been earlier taxed on
       the basis of an estimate. This reason is obviously fallacious, for
       if the income is treated as one from an undisclosed source
       which the question postulates, it is not treated as income of the
       disclosed source which had previously been assessed to tax
       and, therefore, there is in such a case no double taxation. It is
       not a case where the income sought to be taxed was held to be
       undisclosed income of a disclosed source, the income of which
       source had previously been taxed on the basis of an estimate. If
       it were so, the question of double taxation might have been
       legitimately raised. That, however, is clearly not the case here
       as the question as framed itself shows.

       We concede that the question as to the source from which a
       particular income is derived is one which has to be decided on
       all the facts of the case. Hence the question whether income
       represented by an entry in the books of a business is income of




ITA 544/2005                                                          Page 9 of 15
       that business or of another business would have to be decided
       on the facts which showed the business to which it belonged.
       But quite clearly the answer to that question would not depend
       on whether the income from the first mentioned business had
       been computed on the basis of a return filed or of an estimate of
       the income made by the taxing authorities. This, however, is
       what the question as framed suggests, and that suggestion is in
       our view wholly without foundation. Therefore, it cannot be
       said that the taxing authorities were precluded from treating
       the amounts of the credit entries as income from undisclosed
       sources simply because the entries appear in the books of a
       business whose income they had previously computed on a
       percentage basis. That is why we think that the answer to the
       question as framed must be in the affirmative.

       As we have earlier said, the question as to the source from
       which a particular income is derived has to be decided on all
       the facts of the case. In the present case, the Income-tax Officer
       held the income represented by the credit entries to be income
       from undisclosed sources, that is, neither from the manihari
       (general merchandise) nor from the bidi business of the
       assessee which he had disclosed. This view was upheld by the
       Appellate Commissioner and by the Tribunal excepting as to
       two of the amounts earlier mentioned. It was open to the
       assessee to raise the question that the finding that those
       amounts were income received from undisclosed sources was
       not based on any evidence or was, for other reasons, perverse.
       It appears that he did raise some questions of this type before
       the Tribunal for reference to the High Court but the Tribunal
       did not think that those questions legitimately arose and did not
       refer them to the High Court. The assessee accepted the
       decision of the Tribunal and did not move the High Court to
       direct a reference in regard to those questions under section 66
       (2). Those questions, therefore, cannot be raised in this court.
       We have dealt with the reference made on the basis that the
       finding that the amounts of the credit entries were income
       received from undisclosed sources was disputed only on the
       ground that the income from the business had been computed









ITA 544/2005                                                         Page 10 of 15
       on the basis of an estimate. In the circumstances of the case we
       could not have done anything else."

10.    In the present case, the basis for addition under Section 68 is that the
assessee could not explain or establish the identity, genuineness (of the
credit transaction), or creditworthiness of the party. That these amounts were
included in the larger turnover, in terms of Kale Khan (supra), does not ipso
facto shut out an inquiry into the credits, which have to be explained. These
amounts were in fact "peak credit" amounts that were brought to tax, since
the assessee's explanations were inadequate. This kind of acceptance of
"peak credit" theory to bring to tax amounts under Section 68 was approved
by this court in Commissioner of Income Tax v. D.K. Garg 2018 (404) ITR
757 (Del).

       "19. 13. There have been numerous cases before the AO, CIT
       (A), the ITAT and for that matter even before this Court, where
       the question involved concerns the treatment of
       'accommodation entries'. Basically, what an accommodation
       entry provider does is to accept cash from an Assessee and
       arranges to have a cheque issued from his own account or some
       other account, usually of 'paper' or fake entities, to make it
       appear to be a loan or an investment in share capital. The
       accommodation entry provider usually charges a commission
       which is deducted upfront. Where the Assessee is unable to
       explain the source of such credit in his account - i.e. by
       demonstrating the identity of the provider of the credit, the
       creditworthiness of such entity, and the genuineness of the
       transaction - the credit entry is treated as unexplained and the
       income is treated under Section 68 of the Act as the income of
       the Assessee.

       14. In cases where the Assessee discharges the initial onus of
       establishing the identity and creditworthiness of the credit
       provider and the genuineness of the transaction, be it one of



ITA 544/2005                                                        Page 11 of 15
       loan or subscribing to share capital, the onus shifts to the
       revenue to show the contrary. Where, for instance, an Assessee
       furnishes the complete details of the entity like its certificate of
       incorporation, PAN number, income tax returns, bank
       accounts, names and addresses of the directors and so on, the
       Courts have insisted on the AO to make a proper enquiry to
       examine the identity and creditworthiness of such companies
       and the genuineness of the transactions in question. Where the
       AO fails to make such an enquiry, a Court might delete the
       additions made by the AO.

       15. The present case, however, is of a different nature. Here, we
       are dealing with an Assessee who does not deny that he is an
       accommodation entry provider. He, in fact, makes no bones of
       the fact that he either owned or floated 'paper companies' only
       for that purpose. He also does not dispute the fact that he has
       not been able to explain the source of all the deposits in his
       accounts or the ultimate destination of all the outgo from his
       accounts.

       16. The Assessee's plea that he should be taxed only on a
       composite 'peak credit' is based entirely on principles of
       accountancy. He questions the logic behind allowing peak
       credits for some of the credit entries by way of cheques and
       denying it for the other entries in cash. He also questions the
       practice of working out separate peak credits for cheque and
       cash transactions.

       17. The premise underlying the concept of peak credit is the
       squaring up of the deposits in the account with the
       corresponding payments out of the account to the same person.
       In Bhaiyalal Shyam Bihari v. CIT (supra), the Allahabad High
       Court explained that benefit of peak can be given only when the
       assessee owns up all the cash credits in the books of accounts.
       It was further held:

               "For adjudicating upon the plea of peak credit the
               factual foundation has to be laid by the assessee. He has




ITA 544/2005                                                           Page 12 of 15
               to own all cash credit entries in the books of account and
               only thereafter can the question of peak credit be raised."

       19. The legal position in respect of an accommodation entry
       provider seeking the benefit of 'peak credit' appears to have
       been totally overlooked by the ITAT in the present case. Indeed,
       if the Assessee as a self-confessed accommodation entry
       provider wanted to avail the benefit of the 'peak credit', he had
       to make a clean breast of all the facts within his
       knowledge concerning the credit entries in the accounts. He has
       to explain with sufficient detail the source of all the deposits in
       his accounts as well as the corresponding destination of all
       payments from the accounts. The Assessee should be able to
       show that money has been transferred through banking
       channels from the bank account of creditors to the bank
       account of the Assessee, the identity of the creditors and that
       the money paid from the accounts of the Assessee has returned
       to the bank accounts of the creditors. The Assessee has to
       discharge the primary onus of disclosure in this regard.

       20. While the AO in the present case did not question the
       working out of the peak credit by the Assessee, he, at the same
       time, insisted that the additions made by him to the returned
       income of the Assessee should be sustained. The peak credit
       worked out by the Assessee was on the basis that the principle
       of peak credit would apply, notwithstanding the failure of the
       Assessee to explain each of the sources of the deposits and the
       corresponding destination of the payment without squaring
       them off. That is not permissible in law as explained by the
       Allahabad High Court in the aforementioned decisions which,
       this Court concurs with.

       Conclusion

       21. As already noted, the ITAT went merely on the basis of
       accountancy, overlooking the settled legal position that peak
       credit is not applicable where deposits remain unexplained
       under Section 68 of the Act. The question of law framed by this
       Court, is accordingly, answered in the negative i.e. in favour of



ITA 544/2005                                                          Page 13 of 15
       the Revenue and against the Assessee. The impugned order of
       ITAT is, accordingly, set aside and the order of the AO is
       restored to file."

11.    This court observes that the lower authorities found from the
assessment records that the "feeder accounts" were opened either in the
name of the assessee's employees or in the name of those who operated for
consideration and operated at the instruction of Mr. Ashok Gupta, proprietor
of the assessee. These individuals denied of having any knowledge of
transactions in those bank accounts. The AO, in these circumstances felt that
the bank statements were reliable because entries in the books (found during
the search) reflecting the amounts, supported in the bank account statements
seized. Having regard to Kale Khan (supra) and D.K. Garg (supra), it is held
that per se the ITAT could have not ruled out taxability under Section 68,
given the unsatisfactory nature of the explanation provided by the assessee.
This court notices, at the same time that inconsistent approaches were
adopted by the lower revenue authorities for two years: for the first block
period, ending with AY 2000-2001, the assessee was sought to be taxed for a
total amount of ` 71,396,211/-; for the later block period (in Appeal No.
178/2002-03) the CIT taxed (out of the same amount) only the sum of `
3,99,35,142/-. It appears that the assessee could satisfactorily explain the
genuineness and other necessary ingredients needed under Section 68 with
respect to the balance except inability to co-relate the cheque or instruments
with the creditor concerned. Given that on these aspects, the findings were in
favour of the assessee (which do not appear to have been interfered with),
the revenue's appeal can only succeed in part.




ITA 544/2005                                                       Page 14 of 15
12.    In view of the above finding, it is held that the revenue's appeal has to
succeed in part; the amount of ` 3,99,35,142/- in the account of the assessee
can be taxed under Section 68 of the Act. The appeal is allowed to this
extent. There shall be no order on costs.




                                                       S. RAVINDRA BHAT
                                                                 (JUDGE)


                                                              A.K. CHAWLA
                                                                    (JUDGE)
SEPTEMBER 12, 2018




ITA 544/2005                                                         Page 15 of 15

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