New Delhi: A special CBI court has allowed defreezing of the bank accounts of `chole-bhature` vendor Ashok Malhotra, an accused in the multi-crore land scam, and his family members for recovery of Rs 6.13 crore in tax arrears.
Special CBI Judge AK Mendiratta allowed Income Tax department`s application for defreezing of Malhotra`s and his family`s bank accounts, which were frozen by the CBI during investigation into the scam, to recover outstanding tax liability.
"Accounts freezed by the investigating agency (CBI) are defreezed to the limited extent whereby the IT Deptt shall be at liberty to proceed in respect of the amount deposited in the said accounts in accordance with law under the provisions of IT Act," the court said.
The IT department had moved the court seeking defreezing of the accounts for realisation of tax arrears as it said a tax
demand of Rs 6,13,87,671 for the Assessment Years 2003-04, 2004-05 and 2005-06 has fallen due against accused Ashok Malhotra and his family members.
The court noted that the IT department had been constrained to approach the court since it was not in a position to recover the amount in accordance with the IT Act due to freezing orders of various accounts passed by investigating agency.
The CBI also submitted that "it has no objection if the amount lying in the accounts so frozen by CBI relating to accused Ashok Malhotra, his family members, other relatives and societies is forfeited on account of government dues."
The court rejected Malhotra`s arguments that his accounts cannot be used for realisation of tax liability as he and his family has preferred appeals against the assessment orders for the years 2003-04 to 2005-06.
He also said that the freezing of the accounts by CBI is illegal as no directions of the Court were obtained for doing so.
Initially a `cholley-bhaturey` vendor, then a canteen contractor in Delhi Vidhan Sabha, Malhotra is accused of conspiring with officials of various government departments and grabbing plots meant for resettlement of slum dwellers under the Delhi government`s resettlement scheme and selling it off at exorbitant rates.
He was arrested on August 6, 2007 and a slew of fancy cars with VIP number-plates were recovered from Malhotra`s northwest Delhi residence.
A total of 16 chargesheets have been filed by CBI against Malhotra and his associates.