‘Bribe to JMM to save Rao govt tax-free’

An I-T tribunal upheld contention of four former JMM MPs that they are not liable to pay tax on money they received for voting in favour of Rao govt.

New Delhi: An income tax appellate tribunal
has upheld the contention of four former Jharkhand Mukti
Morcha (JMM) MPs that they are not liable to pay tax or
penalty on money they received for voting in favour of the PV
Narsimha Rao government in 1993.

The four former MPs -- Shibu Soren, Suraj Mandal, Simon
Marandi and Shailendra Mahto -- had approached the IT
Appellate Tribunal (ITAT) Delhi bench against the order of
appellate commissioner of Income Tax on the assessment order
of 1997 passed by assessment officer that they were liable to
pay tax on the money they received.
R P Tolani, Judicial Member and A K Garodia, Accountant
Member of the ITAT, have in 37 -page order allowed the appeal
of the former MPs and the party against the block assessment
order of the assessment officer in 1997 under which they were
liable to pay tax and penalty.

The former MPs had during the trial in the case under
Prevention of Corruption Act had admitted that they had
received money from the Congress party for their support to
the confidence motion.

However, they were acquitted of the charge of accepting
bribe after a Supreme Court verdict which held that the MPs`
action enjoyed immunity under Article 105 of the Constitution.
The tribunal said "...We have held that no addition is
justified in the present case, either in respect of deposits
in various bank accounts with PNB Noroji Nagar, New Delhi or
various other additions made by the A.O., which are not
relatable to any evidence found in course of search.

"We are of the considered opinion that no adjudication is
called for regarding various other contentions raised by the
learned advocate regarding non existence of search, or non
validity of search for the reason that there is no panchnama
or that there is no notice issued by the A.O. u/s 143(2) after
filing of block return etc."

The ITAT order said that "We do not decide these aspects
because now these aspects are of academic interest only once
it is held by us that no addition made by the A.O. in the
present cases is sustainable. We, therefore, do not decide
these aspects. In the result, all these four appeals filed by
these four individual assesses are allowed in the terms
indicated above."

The tribunal allowed a similar relief to the JMM on an


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