Madras High Court pulls up I-T department in Chandrasekhar case

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Chennai | Published: July 22, 2018 12:05:07 AM

The Madras High Court has pulled up the I-T department for the manner in which it filed the counter in a case related to the seizure of a car which reportedly belonged to T T V Dhinakaran's aide Sukesh Chandrasekhar, arrested in the EC bribery case.

Madras High Court (IE)

The Madras High Court has pulled up the I-T department for the manner in which it filed the counter in a case related to the seizure of a car which reportedly belonged to T T V Dhinakaran’s aide Sukesh Chandrasekhar, arrested in the EC bribery case. Justice PN Prakash set aside the order of the Judicial Magistrate who directed the Assistant Director of Income Tax (Investigation), Bengaluru, to produce the car before the court.

In his order, the judge said “on a reading of the counter filed by the Income Tax Department before the Magistrate, it is shorn of even minimum particulars and this court strongly records its displeasure and the cavalier manner in which the counter has been filed by the Income Tax Department before the Judicial Magistrate.” “The department must learn to respect the judiciary and should have placed all the facts before the Judicial Magistrate in which case the impugned order would not have been passed,” he added. He directed the I-T commissioner to take appropriate action against the officer who filed the counter in the case before the Judicial Magistrate-I, Coimbatore.
The matter relates to the searches and seizures at the premises of Chandrasekhar, an assessee in Bengaluru who is at present an under-trial lodged in Delhi’s Tihar jail for allegedly attempting to bribe Election Commission (EC) officials to secure the AIADMK’s “Two Leaves” symbol for the faction led by Dhinakaran.

Pursuant to the searches conducted by the I-T department in Tamil Nadu and Kerala, a Rolls Royce along with three other cars and a motorcycle were seized under various sections of the Income Tax Act. It is alleged that the vehicles were bought by Chandrasekhar through Karthikeyan alias Karthik and S Balaji– pre-owned luxury cars dealers– and were kept in the custody of his friends Navas and Noufal in Kochi and Ernakulam in Kerala.

The original documents of the Rolls Royce which were in the name of Arvind Ratilal Shaw with transfer documents signed by him were seized by the IT officials and the car and other documents like RC and insurance certificate were in possession of Navas and Noufal.
After the seizure of the car, Shaw filed a complaint with the RS Puram police in Coimbatore alleging the car was given to Karthikeyan for showing it to prospective buyers but he did not return the car.

Subsequently, the judicial magistrate in Coimbatore ordered to produce the car before the court and a criminal original petition was filed by the I-T department to quash the order. Justice Prakash who set aside the order of the Magistrate found fault with the I-T official who had not filed any details before the Judicial Magistrate. The judge also pulled up the inspector of RS Puram police station for filing a petition under Section 91 of Cr.Pc knowing that the I-T department had seized the car.

Since the inspector of police and the I-T department did not place the full facts before the Judicial Magistrate, the impugned order was passed, he said. Stating that it is open to Shaw to work out a remedy to take interim custody of the car, the judge directed not to use the services of the police to acquire the vehicle through the backdoor.

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