Tax evasion hits infrastructure development: Court

Tax evasion hits infrastructure development: Court New Delhi: A Delhi court has upheld a two-year jail term given to a tax evader, saying tax avoidance reduced funds needed for the country's infrastructure development.

Additional Session Judge S.S. Rathi made the observation Wednesday while upholding a magistrate court's order that had awarded rigorous imprisonment of two years and fine of Rs.1 lakh to businessman Harish Chadha, convicted for tax evasion.

"The case in hand is a glaring example of tax avoidance. Our country is in dire need of funds for sprucing up the infrastructure. One can see rampant tax evasion all around," said Rathi.

The judge said hardly five percent of the total population paid taxes.

"Even those assessed do not come out with true statements of earnings. The world over, tax authorities consider the instance of tax evasion as felony and they are dealt with very sternly," said the judge.

The court said the convict tried every trick under their belt to avoid payment of tax dues at the peril of country's development.

"They deserve to be dealt with sternly so that right message is sent to violators of tax laws that they should not expect any leniency," the court said.

The court was hearing a revision petition filed by Chadha challenging a magistrate court order. The court has held him guilty of evading tax.

"It is beyond comprehension that a person who had earned Rs.six crore profit in a couple of years does not even have enough money to clear his income tax dues," the court said.

"The plea of income tax authorities that convict had sufficient financial means to clear the dues is clearly evident from the convict's balance-sheet as on March 31, 1995, filed by him on record along with Section 311 of the Criminal Procedure Code (power to examine person) application, which shows that other than profit of around Rs.6 crore earned by him, he had cash in hand a reserve of Rs.57.92 lakh," said the court.

The prosecution said that Chadha had earned Rs.6 crore in 1995-96 but had not cleared his tax dues.

IANS