NEW DELHI: The Congress faced yet another setback in the National Herald case on Friday. The Delhi High Court has refused to stay income tax proceedings against Young Indian Pvt Ltd, whose major stakeholders are party president Sonia Gandhi and her son and vice-president Rahul Gandhi. “We are not inclined to entertain your writ petition.
It is better that you withdraw it and approach the income tax assessing officer,” a bench of Justices Muralidhar and Chander Shekhar said, implying the proceedings would continue. The company has not moved the assessing officer or raised its grievances with him, the bench said. “It should first approach the IT department and submit its documents. In case it’s still not satisfied, the company can move the court thereafter.” Sensing the mood of the bench, senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for the firm, withdrew the petition which was allowed by the court that termed it “dismissed as withdrawn”.
Young Indian (YI), incorporated in November 2010 with a capital of Rs 50 lakh, had acquired almost all the shareholding of the Associated Journal Ltd (AJL), owner of the National Herald newspaper. In a private complaint filed before a trial court, BJP MP Subramanian Swamy had accused the Gandhis and others of conspiring to cheat and misappropriate funds. He accused them of paying just Rs 50 lakh through which Young Indian obtained the right to recover Rs 90.25 crore that AJL owed to the Congress.
According to IT records, 83.3 per cent of Young Indian was held by Sonia and Rahul, 15.5 per cent by Motilal Vohra and the remaining 1.2 per cent by Oscar Fernandes. The Gandhis and other accused -- Motilal Vora, Oscar Fernandes, Suman Dubey and Sam Pitroda -- have denied the allegations. Earlier, Young Indian had approached the High Court seeking a direction to stay the IT proceedings. It also sough quashing of the re-assessment notice issued against it in the case. The firm had challenged the notice under the Income Tax Act, by which the department had sought to reopen a past assessment on the grounds that certain income, for the financial year 2011-12, had escaped assessment.