• Notification Date: 01-06-2023
  • Notification No: N/A

Delhi HC Dismisses Congress’s Appeal by Sonia Gandhi, Rahul, Priyanka over Income Tax Assessment Transfer

The Delhi High Court on Friday dismissed petitions by Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra against the Income Tax department's decision to transfer their assessments to the Central Circle instead of an ordinary assessment in a matter related to arms dealer Sanjay Bhandari. 

The high court also junked separate pleas filed by the Sanjay Gandhi Memorial Trust, Jawahar Bhawan Trust, Rajiv Gandhi Foundation, Rajiv Gandhi Charitable Trust, Young Indian and the Aam Aadmi Party. 

The Gandhis had challenged the order by the I-T principal commissioner to transfer their cases for the assessment year 2018-2019 to the Central Circle. 

Central Circles complement the investigation wing of the I-T Department. Central Circle will take over the evidence gathered during searches and take the case to a logical conclusion. 

The I-T assessment against the Gandhis will now be completed by the Central Circle and the required penalty orders will be passed. 

Prosecution proceedings may be launched by the investigation wing in cases of tax evasion. 

“The assessment of petitioners have been transferred to the Central Circle in accordance with law. The present writ petitions are dismissed,” a bench of Justices Manmohan and Dinesh Kumar Sharma said while pronouncing the verdict. 

“Undoubtedly there cannot be guilt by association or relationship, yet in the present matters, assessments have been transferred for the purposes of a coordinated investigation,” the bench added. 

The court said Central Circle jurisdiction is not confined to search cases and no assessee has any fundamental or vested legal right to be assessed by a faceless assessing officer. 

The court clarified it has not examined the “controversy between the parties on merits”. 

Sonia, Rahul and Priyanka had opposed the transfer of their cases to the Central Circle, saying they have nothing to do with the Sanjay Bhandari group's cases. 

Sanjay Bhandari is wanted in India on money laundering charges. He has been allegedly linked to Robert Vadra, the husband of Priyanka Gandhi Vadra. Robert Vadra has denied having any connection with the accused.