SC slaps notice on Sahara firm for tax violation

Written by Indu Bhan | Indu Bhan | New Delhi | Updated: Feb 27 2013, 08:48am hrs
The Supreme Court has sought an explanation from Sahara India Mutual Benefit Co as to why penalty should not be imposed on it for collection and distribution of cash deposits that allegedly violated the tax laws aimed at curbing the menace of black money.

A bench headed by Justice Aftab Alam issued notice to the Sahara firm after the department moved six appeals against the Delhi HCs decision that endorsed the Income Tax Tribunals order cancelling penalties levied on Sahara India Mutual Benefit Co.

The tribunal in 2010 held that the private mutual benefit company, engaged in the business of mobilisation of deposits only from its members, was excluded from complying with the provisions of Sections 269SS and 269T of the Income Tax Act, 1961.

Section 269SS says that any person who accepts a loan or deposit in excess of Rs 20,000, in cash, from any other person, will be liable to penalty of an equivalent amount under Section 271D of the Act.

Sahara claims the deposits were genuine and were mobilised under various saving schemes collected through more than 600 branches of the agents spread across the country.

It further said that since the agents were located in remote areas with inadequate banking facilities, agents could not open bank accounts for collection and repayment of the deposits.