CHENNAI: The Madras High Court has directed the Commissioner of Income-Tax to take suitable action against its official concerned for filing an affidavit in a cavalier manner in a matter relating to Sukesh Chandrasekhar before a magistrate court in Coimbatore. The department had, among other things, seized an expensive car used by Sukesh, who had been arrested and lodged in Tihar jail for allegedly attempting to bribe officials of Election Commission in New Delhi for obtaining an order favourable to RK Nagar independent MLA T T V Dhinakaran in the matter of ‘two leaves’ symbol.
A reading of the affidavit filed by the IT official before the Judicial Magistrate in Coimbatore showed that it was short of even minimum particulars, Justice P N Prakash said and recorded his displeasure for the cavalier manner in which it was filed. The department must learn to respect the judiciary. It should have placed all the facts before the Judicial Magistrate. The I-T Commissioner should take appropriate action against the officer who had filed the affidavit before the magistrate, the judge said.
Pursuant to the searches made in Tamil Nadu, Bengaluru, and Kerala, the I-T department had seized the Rolls Royce along with three other cars and a motor-cycle from Sukesh under Section 132/133-A of Income Tax Act. It was alleged that all these vehicles were purchased by Sukash through Karthikeyan alias Karthik and S Balaji, who were dealers in second-hand luxury cars. The original document of Rolls Royce was in the name of one Arvind Ratilal Shaw, who lodged a complaint with R S Puram police alleging that the car was given to Karthikeyan for showing it to a prospective buyer. But, he neither paid the sale proceeds nor returned the car, he had alleged.
The RS Puram police, which registered the case, filed a petition before the Judicial Magistrate, who ordered the production of the car before him. Hence, the present petition from the IT department to quash the order. Justice Prakash, who set-aside the order, also pulled up the RS Puram inspector for filing a petition under Section 91 of CrPC (summons to produce a document or other thing) knowing full well that the department had seized the car under I-T Act. It is not a theft case to register an offence under section 380 IPC, where the property is essential.
The allegation by Aravind Shaw is that Karthik had cheated him and had vanished with the car. The question is whether Karthik had cheated Arvind or not for which the car is not an essential piece of evidence, especially when it came to the notice of the inspector that the car had been seized by I-T department and it was in their lawful custody. Since the Inspector and the IT department did not place the full facts before the Judicial Magistrate, he had passed the impugned order,” the judge pointed out.