The Bombay High Court Friday directed the Income Tax (I-T) department not to take coercive action against Anil Ambani till March 17 on fresh penalty notices issued against him over its allegation that the Reliance (ADA) Group chief evaded Rs 420 crore taxes on Rs 814 crore held in two Swiss Bank accounts.
A division bench of Justice Gautam S Patel and Justice Neela K Gokhale was hearing Ambani’s plea against the I-T order.
The bench had earlier questioned the I-T department as to how action can be taken in a retrospective manner against the petitioner. It had also issued a notice to the Attorney General (AG) of India regarding Ambani’s challenge to the constitutional validity of Sections 3(1), 50, 51, 59, and 72C of the Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act, 2015, which, he contended, violated Articles 14, 20 and 21 of the Constitution.
Senior advocates Rafique Dada and Prateek Sekseria representing Ambani informed the bench that the I-T department had issued penalty notices in furtherance of show cause notices.
Dada challenged the levy of penalty notices and sought to amend the petition to challenge fresh notices.
The bench allowed Ambani to amend the plea and directed the I-T department not to take further steps based on penalty demand notices till March 17.
Alleging the detection of undeclared offshore assets and investments, the Mumbai unit of the I-T investigation wing passed a final order in March 2022 against the industrialist under the Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act, 2015.
The order was filed after notices were issued to Ambani on a web of alleged undeclared offshore assets, the first in 2019. The department’s order listed offshore entities and details of transactions in linked bank accounts, adding up to over Rs 800 crore (based on the current exchange rate).
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