HC rejects IRS officer’s plea against sanction to prosecute
New Delhi: The Bombay High Court has turned down a petition filed by Additional Commissioner of income Tax in Mumbai, challenging sanction given by the Union Finance Ministry to CBI to prosecute him in an alleged disproportionate assets case.Vivek Batra,IRS had taken the plea that the impugned order of the Ministry was vitiated in law and that it amounts to review of earlier decision of the Ministry dated April 27, 2012, refusing to grant sanction for prosecuting him.
In their recent order, Justices S C Dharmadhikari and Gautam Patel opined that the impugned order dated October 9, 2012, of the Finance Ministry granting sanction to prosecute Batra was not perverse and was also not vitiated for want of application of mind.
The judges also observed that it was the only order available on record in regard to sanction for prosecution and added that it was not a review of earlier order passed by the Finance Ministry as claimed by the petitioner.
“In such circumstances, the court could not interfere with the order,” the judges noted.
Batra’s counsel Amit Desai argued that when there is a decision endorsed in the file on April 27, 2012 and that is not to grant sanction, then, the subsequent order passed on October 9, 2012, deserves to be quashed and set aside.
However, the Judges noted that if the impugned order dated October 9, 2012, was the original order and not an order in review as claimed, then, the whole foundation for the argument of absence of sanction must fail.
It was alleged that he indulged in corrupt practices and thereby accumulated assets exceeding Rs 1.27 crore disproportionate to his known sources of income, in his name as well as in the name of his wife and minor son between January 4, 1993 to March 31, 2004.
However, the agency sought his prosecution by linking two companies, ARJ Impex Pvt Ltd and Malik Hospitality Services Pvt Ltd to Batra, thereby computing disproportionate assets at Rs 56.30 lakhs in these companies.