The income-tax department is likely to levy a penalty of Rs 30,000 crore on alleged money launderer and tax-evader Hasan Ali Khan, who was released on bail by the Bombay High Court last week, I-T sources said. Khan, a Pune-based stud-farm owner, had been in custody of the Enforcement Directorate. The agency has been probing charges that Khan had stashed away $8 billion into Swiss bank accounts. The I-T department has been waiting for Khan’s release from the ED’s custody to summon him for hearing.
As per I-T rules, the taxpayer is given a chance to explain his side of the case before any penalty is levied. The department has already slapped a penalty of . 20,000 crore on Kashinath Tuparia, Khan’s business associate and brother of late Priyamvada Birla. A tax demand of . 75,000 crore is also pending against Khan. Khan, who was interrogated by the I-T department in 2007 following a raid at his Pune residence, had denied he had any account with Swiss banks.
UBS, the largest bank in Switzerland, too had denied that they did business with Khan. However, the I-T department had made the demand on the basis of documents seized from Khan’s residence. The department has attached his . 4-crore worth properties and bank accounts in India. The Swiss government has put in place laws to check leakage of information regarding accounts with Swiss banks and, therefore, even requests through foreign governments are not favourably responded unless the account holder is tried in the foreign country for an offense which is also an offence under the Swiss laws.
The I-T department had sent a Letter Rogatory, a legal recourse for obtaining information form a foreign country, to the Swiss authorities , but the authorities there declined to furnish the required information on the ground that not filing returns is not an offense in Switzerland. While tax and legal experts wonder how the I-T department would recover the huge demand raised against Khan who does not have any assets in India to match this demand, the office of the Comptroller and Auditor General has sent a note to the I-T department stating that the latter has committed an error in calculation of interest on the tax demand on Khan. According to them over . 10,000 crore should be added to the existing tax demand on Khan. Economic Times