SC: Final hearing on National Herald case in Dec

SC: Final hearing on National Herald case in Dec

The Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to give a detailed hearing on pleas made by Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi and Oscar Fernandes against tax reassessment notice.

Their income for 2011-12 was sought to be reassessed by the tax department as they "failed" to disclose acquisition of shares in Associated Journal Ltd which runs National Herald.
A bench of Justices A K Sikri and S Abdul Nazeer fixed separate special leave petitions filed by all the three for hearing on December 4.

They challenged the Delhi High Court's order of September 10 that refused to give any relief to the leaders.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and former Union Minister Oscar were represented by senior advocates P Chidambaram, Kapil Sibal and Arvind Datar.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta appeared for the Income Tax department on caveat.

In his brief submissions, Chidambaram said the company, Young India with Rahul, Sonia being shareholders, acquired some of the shares in AJL along with debt of over Rs 90 crore, which did not mean that it has given rise to their income. He further said the YI was a Section 25 company which does not make profit.

"It (acquisition of shares) was not a taxing event," he said.

Mehta, however, said all these questions could be dealt with during detailed hearing. 

At one point, the bench suggested we can issue notice in the matter but allow the assessing officer to proceed with reassessment or we can fix a date and decide the matter.

Mehta preferred the second option.  Congress leaders counsel insisted for issuing notice but the court said since Mehta is already present on caveat, it was not necessary. 
The matter has arisen after a private complaint was filed by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy before a trial court in which the three leaders are out on bail.