In a major setback for Sonia and Rahul Gandhi, the Supreme Court on Tuesday allowed the Income Tax Department to proceed with the reopening of their tax assessment for year 2011-12 in connection with the National Herald case. The apex court, however, restrained the Income Tax Department from implementing its order on proceeding till the pendency of matter before it.
The Supreme Court said it is not expressing any opinion on merits of pleas filed by Congress president Rahul Gandhi and his mother Sonia Gandhi. A bench headed by Justice A K Sikri posted the matter for further hearing on January 8.
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The Gandhis and senior Congress leader Oscar Fernandes had challenged the Delhi High Court's September 10 verdict that dismissed their plea against the re-opening of their tax assessments for 2011-12.
The Income tax probe was initiated after BJP leader Subramanian Swamy accused the Gandhis and others of conspiring to cheat and misappropriate funds by paying Rs 50 lakh, through which Young Indian Pvt Ltd (YI) obtained the right to recover Rs 90.25 crore that Associate Journals Ltd (AJL), which runs National Herald newspaper, owed to the Congress party.
Besides the Gandhis, the complaint has also named veteran Congress leaders Motilal Vora, Oscar Fernandes, Suman Dubey, Sam Pitroda and YI as accused.
All the accused have denied the allegations levelled against them in the case.
On December 19, 2015, court granted bail to Sonia and Rahul Gandhi, Vora, Fernandes and Dubey, who had appeared before it pursuant to summonses.
Pitroda was also granted bail on February 20, 2016 when he had appeared in the court.