New Delhi, January 5: Sahara India, which was recently accused of giving huge sums of money to politicians, has been granted immunity from prosecution and penalty in an order passed by the Income Tax Settlement Commission (ITSC).
Sahara was accused of the charges following raids conducted on November 2014 during which “diaries” listing alleged pay-offs to politicians were recovered.
The "diaries" recently resurfaced after Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi made serious allegations on Prime Minister Narendra Modi of taking money post demonetisation.
ITSC agreed with the Sahara's claims that the "diaries" recovered during the raids were not authentic enough and could not be proved by the IT department.
ITSC had earlier rejected the application filed by Sahar but re-admitted it on September 5 last year.
In a first, ITSC passed an order in less than 10-12 months which usually takes 18 months to do so.
The final page of the 50-pages long order allows Sahara to pay the taxes of Rs 137.58 crore — which was seized during the raids, in 12 instalments.
ITSC has also mentioned the claims of Sahara that “the applicant’s contention is that these are dumb documents written by some disgruntled employees…”
Former AAP founder-member Prashant Bhushan had filed a petition in the Supreme Court on November 15, 2016, on the basis of the "Sahara diaries", that have alleged payoffs to over 100 politicians from more than 14 parties.
Sahara on the other side had claimed that 'an employee and a friend of his got together to “implicate and malign” the image of another employee who was the head of Department of the office of Chairman of the Sahara Group. The duo “thought they were being ill-treated by him and he made them work for long and odd hours which in turn was affecting their family life and for various other personal reasons."
“Even though authors on loose papers have claimed fabricating documents…this self-serving claim has limited evidentiary value and the Income Tax has failed to corroborate or prove the correctness of notings on loose papers and electronic documents. No evidence with regard to sources of receipts and nature and purpose of payments were produced before us,” ITSC concluded.
Courtesy- Indian Express