I-T attaches Delhi businessman`s properties

The Income Tax department has attached 5 properties belonging to a Delhi-based businessman accused in the DDA multi-crore land scam.

New Delhi: More than a year after slapping a tax demand of over Rs six crore, the Income Tax department has attached five properties belonging to a Delhi-based businessman accused in the DDA multi-crore land scam.

The action came recently with the department pasting "recovery notices" on the Mukherjee Nagar and Jahangirpuri properties of Malhotra, famously known as `choley bhaturey` vendor, and his family in North Delhi.

The department, through its recovery officer, has ordered that till the taxes are paid, the owners of the attached properties are "prohibited and restrained from transferring or changing the ownership of the properties".

The department has computed a tax liability of of Rs 6,29,399,13 on Malhotra, more than Rs 33 lakh on his son Himanshu and Rs 35 lakh on his wife Pushpa.

The action has been taken by the taxman under section 220 (2) (assessee deemed in default of tax) of the I-T Act and is used rarely by the department in outstanding taxation cases.

The I-T department had also recently moved a special CBI court here seeking defreezing of Malhotra`s 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. This amount includes penal interest also.
Special CBI Judge AK Mendiratta had then allowed the 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.

Initially a `choley-bhaturey` vendor, a former 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.
Malhotra has denied these charges.

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.