New Delhi: Income Tax department has asked
hardline Kashmiri separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani to
file Rs 1.73 crore in tax dues over a period when he had not
filed his returns after rejecting his appeal.
The IT sleuths, which had swooped on residences of
Geelani and his family members in 2002 and seized valuable
items including a diamond-studded watch gifted by Pakistan
Government, had raised a tax demand of over Rs 1.5 crore.
Geelani challenged the demand and approached the
Commissioner of Income Tax (appeals) for review of the case
and also sought a waiver, saying he did not earn anything
other than the pension from Government of Jammu and Kashmir
and from agriculture land.
The case dragged on for nearly three years and recently
the appeal was dismissed after which he was asked to deposit
Rs 1.73 crore as tax liabilities by end of 2010.
Geelani, who heads the breakaway faction of Hurriyat
Conference, has still the option to go to the Income Tax
Appellate Tribunal (ITAT).
The Tax Department had raised the demand of Rs 1.73
crore against the firebrand Jamaat-e-Islami leader after
giving him ample opportunities to furnish answers to a
questionnaire about his sources of income.
The questionnaire followed an assessment of Geelani`s
wealth by the department following a series of raids conducted
at his house and other places in June 2002.
The department had raided Geelani`s house and other
places of his kin on June 9, 2002 and seized Rs 10.2 lakh and
10,000 US dollars in cash, vouchers showing purchase of
substantial amount of jewellery, a diamond-encrusted watch
inscribed with "From Pakistan Government" besides documents
pertaining to purchase of property and vehicles.
Geelani had shown an annual income of Rs 17,100--Rs
7,100 as pension from the state Assembly as a former MLA and
Rs 10,000 as agriculture income.
However, according to the assessment made by the Income
Tax Department, the monthly expenditure of Geelani
allegedly ranged from Rs one lakh to Rs 1.5 lakh as he had 15
servants at his house and his wife had confirmed that she used
to get Rs 25,000 per month for kitchen expenses.
When asked to comment, Geelani said he had not received
the notice as yet and would like to first understand the
grounds of rejection before reacting.