Court directs IT officials to return 5 cr. with 12% interest
‘ Document associating with cash seizure prepared by officer was fabricated’.
The Telangana High Court structure in Hyderabad.
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‘ Document associating with cash seizure prepared by officer was made’.
Observing that seizure of 5 crore by Hyderabad Income Tax officials almost 18 months earlier from a private business staff member was prohibited, the Telangana High Court directed them to reimburse the money within 4 weeks.
The order was passed by a bench of Justices M.S. Ramachandra Rao and T. Amarnath Goud in two writ petitions, one filed by M/s Mectec and the other by its staff member Vipul Kumar Patel.
The bench likewise directed the Director of Earnings Tax (Examination) – Hyderabad and the Deputy Director of IT Unit-I (3) to pay an interest of 12% annually to the business from the date of seizure of the money till date of refund of the money.
In an order passed a fortnight ago, the bench strongly deprecated the conduct of the IT Deputy Director keeping in mind that the document associating with cash seizure prepared by the officer was produced.
” Why the 2nd respondent – IT Deputy Director-Hyderabad – should resort to making this panchanama (Exhibit R-8) is obvious i.e., to make out a case for seizure and retention of cash illegally by giving a colour of legal validity,” the bench said.
The bench also said, “this document, in our viewpoint, is clearly a fabricated document of a search of an unknown/undisclosed location. We disbelieve that any such search remained in fact conducted at all by the officer and her team to seize the money.”
The petitioners contended that Hyderabad Police Commissioner’s Job Force Inspector (West) obstructed Vipul Kumar Patel’s automobile in Hyderabad on August 23, 2019 and took 5 crore which was in his ownership.
The TF Inspector later wrote a letter to IT authorities in Hyderabad informing about the seizure of the money. The IT Deputy Director and her team visited the TF office in Secunderabad and tape-recorded sworn declarations of Patel under Section 131 (A) of IT Act-1961 Given that he could not explain source of the cash in his belongings, a warrant under Area 132 of the IT Act was released.
” Curiously, in the counter affidavits filed by IT authorities, they do not give the date on which they acquired the cash and how they got belongings of it,” the bench mentioned.
Whereas the TF Inspector, in his counter affidavit, mentioned that he had actually turned over Mr. Patel to IT authorities on August 27,2019
The panchanama prepared by the IT authorities about the seizure of the cash left the location of search blank.
” How there could be a warrant provided under area 132 by the Principal Director of Earnings Tax Hyderabad to IT Deputy Director without mentioning the place to be browsed …”, the bench said.
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