A division bench of the Madras High Court on Tuesday recused itself from hearing the Rs 4.97 crore wealth tax assessment dispute between I-T Department and N Sasikala, close aide of former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa.
The division bench of justices S Manikumar and Subramonium Prasad directed the Registry to place the case before the Chief Justice to assign it to some other bench without Justice Prasad being on it.
The case relates to the I-T Department’s assessment of Sasikala’s wealth and its 2001 demand of Rs 10.13 lakh as tax.
When the I-T department’s plea came up before the bench, Advocate Senthil appearing for the Income Tax Department submitted that it is a wealth tax case related to Sasikala.
The bench recused itself from hearing the plea, as Justice Prasad had represented Sasikala before the Supreme Court in many cases before his elevation as a judge.
The issue pertains to the assessment year 1996-97. According to the I-T, Sasikala failed to file return of wealth under the Wealth Tax act for the assessment year, though she was found to be owner of assets worth substantial value.
As she failed to respond to notices issued by the Department, the assessing officer was forced to frame the wealth tax assessment on an ex-parte basis valuing the net wealth worth Rs 4.97 crore and demanding a tax of Rs 10.13 lakh which is inclusive of interest, the I-T said.
Aggrieved by the assessment order, Sasikala filed an appeal before the Commissioner of Wealth Tax (Appeals), who dismissed the appeal.
She Subsequently moved the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal, which allowed her appeal and directed the department to determine the value of the immovable properties as per section 7 of the Act.
Aggrieved by the order, the I-T has approached the high court.