Shimla: The Himachal Pradesh High Court here today stayed order of the Income Tax Commissioner, Shimla transferring cases related to investigation into the revised income tax returns filed by chief minister Virbhadra Singh and his family members to Chandigarh.
Challenging the Income Tax Commissioners order, petitioners Virbhadra Singh, his wife Pratibha Singh, son Vikramaditya Singh, daughter Aparajita Kumari, one Anand Chauhan (caretaker of Virbhadra Singh’s orchards) and Chunni Lal Chauhan (Proprietor of M/s Universal Apples) have pleaded before the court that there was no need to transfer their cases to Chandigarh as it would only result in harassment to them.
In his order, the Income Tax Commissioner had said that the agricultural income had dramatically increased in the revised returns, which was an apparent attempt to justify the investments made in the purchase of insurance policies and the assesses (Virbhadra Singh and his family members) had close relations and business dealings amongst themselves and Vakamulla Chandrashekhar and M/s Tarini Infrastructure Limited, which require coordinated and joint investigations.
Transferring all the cases to Deputy Commissioner of Income Tax, Central Circle, Chandigarh, the Shimla based Income Tax Commissioner had given the reason that centralization of cases would enable the department to conduct focused, synchronized and coordinated investigation.
In their plea, the petitioners have contended that coordinated and joint investigation of all cases can be done in Shimla also and there is no need to transfer the cases to Chandigarh as this will only result in harassment to them.
Staying the order, the division bench comprising of Chief Justice Mansoor Ahmad Mir and Justice Tarlok Singh Chauhan have directed the Income Tax Commissioner to file reply within 4 weeks, before the court posted the matter for September 16.