Monday, July 1, 2013

Tiny pen drive enough to pin you down – ITAT accepts pen drive as admissible evidence in IT proceedings

Pen drive and print outs taken from it constituted admissible evidence in income-tax proceedings and formed a basis for investigation and additions

In the instant case the assessee was arrested by Punjab Police and pen drive was recovered from him containing details of his dealings, which was forwarded by police to IT Department with the printouts. The AO reopened the assessment and cited the pen drive and printouts in reasons recorded. On appeal, the CIT(A) upheld the additions made by AO. Aggrieved-assessee appealed to the ITAT and contended that that the pen drive was not an admissible evidence for reopening assessment and that various provisions of Cr. P.C., IPC, Indian evidence Act and Cyber Laws had been violated by Punjab Police during search.

The Tribunal held in favour of revenue as under:

1) Assessee’s objections had no effect on recordings of reasons by AO for forming a belief about escapement. It is trite law that technical rules of Evidence Act and Cr. P. C. were not applicable to these proceedings;

2) From the record it had emerged that many of the entries mentioned in the pen drive belonged to various business concerns of the assessee in which he was associated with in the capacity of director or partner;

3) They were explained by the assessee though on a prejudicial basis, but the fact remained that the entries had correlation with assessee’s activities. Thus, the contents of the pen drive would become admissible evidence in Income Tax proceedings and would form a basis for investigations and additions.

4) Consequently, pen drive and printouts thereof constituted admissible evidences in those proceedings. The reasons for reopening were recorded on the basis of those contents;

5) The reasons recorded for escapement of income and the material available on record with AO had a live link with each other. Thus, the reasons for reopening the assessments were properly recorded by AO - Chetan Gupta v. ACIT [2013] 34 306 (Delhi - Trib.)

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