BENGALURU: Noting that the launching of prosecution against KPCC president by the I-T Department was premature and illegal, the Karnataka High Court has said that the Special Court, set up exclusively to try criminal cases involving elected representatives, could not have entertained the complaints filed by the central agency.
Dismissing the appeals filed by the I-T Department against the discharge of Shivakumar by the Special Court in February 2019, in cases of alleged tax evasion and disappearance of evidence, Justice John Michael Cunha observed that the court could not have assumed jurisdiction to try the alleged offences without the accused having been committed for trial, as the prosecution launched against the accused is contrary to the procedure prescribed under the CrPC and I-T Act provisions.
Justice Cunha said that unless it is determined that the unaccounted transactions unearthed during search were liable for payment of tax, penalty or interest, no prosecution could be launched on the ground of attempt to evade such tax, penalty or interest. As a result, the prosecution launched against him is premature and illegal and hence, it cannot be allowed to continue.
Justice Cunha noted that the requisite sanction was given by the competent authority and therefore, the reasoning of the Special Court that the authorised officer was not competent to file prosecution complaints is legally untenable. I-T officials filed three complaints against Shivakumar for allegedly evading tax to the tune of Rs 3.14 crore, 2.56 crore and 7.08 crore for 2015-16, 2016-17 and 2017-18, respectively.