New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday allowed the Income Tax Department to inspect documents seized by the CBI during its coalgate probe from the premises of Hindalco for carrying out any bonafide investigation under tax law.
The bench paved the way for the tax department to inspect the documents which CBI denied to it on the ground that the apex court by its May, 8, 2013 order had barred the agency from sharing any material with anybody.
However, a bench headed by Chief Justice R M Lodha clarified that its order in which it had restrained CBI, which is investigating the coal blocks allocation scam, from sharing any information and documents pertaining to its probe with anybody without court's approval, would not come in the way of IT authority.
"The May 8, 2013 order shall not come in the way of IT authority of competent rank to inspect the documents seized by CBI in connection with the coal block allocation scam for any bonafide investigation under the Income Tax Act".
Allowing the application argued by Additional Solicitor General Maninder Singh, the bench, also comprising justices M B Lokur and Kurian Joseph, said for any probe or investigation under the Income Tax Act, the IT department can take copies of those documents for any other case also.
The IT department had moved the apex court seeking its directions to CBI to allow its officers to inspect the documents.
The department had moved the application as the apex court had restrained the agency, investigating in coal block allocation scam, not to share any information and documents pertaining to its probe with anybody without its approval.
In the application filed, the department had sought permission to allow one of its officers to go through the documents collected by CBI while raiding the premises of Hindalco across the country in which unaccounted cash of around Rs 25 crore was recovered.
"It is submitted that the documents seized by CBI are required to be inspected only to ascertain whether they will be useful in the proceedings initiated against Aditya Birla Group under the Income Tax Act," it had said.
The department had also assured the court that CBI probe in the case will not be in anyway affected if it was allowed to go through the documents seized by the agency.
"It is learnt that the CBI had conducted countrywide searches at the premises of Hindalco Industries Ltd in October 2013 and it is believed that the CBI has seized certain documents some of which may be relevant for the proceedings under the Income Tax Act," it had said.