The Delhi High court today stayed till next month the trial court proceedings and the warrant issued by it for the appearance of Sahara Chief Subrata Roy, now lodged in Tihar Jail, for allegedly not filing returns for a group company for the assessment year 2013-14.
Besides Roy, Justice Manmohan Singh also stayed the proceedings and bailable warrants issued against J B Roy, Ranoj Das Gupta and O P Srivastava, all directors of Sahara India Commercial Corporation Ltd. “The proceedings shall be stayed and the process (warrant) issued to the jail authorities to produce the applicant (Roy) shall also be stayed till May 25,” the court said.
The court also issued notice to the income tax department seeking their response before the next date of hearing. The court passed a similar order on the different petitions filed by Srivastava, J B Roy and Gupta. It also stayed the proceedings against the Sahara India Commercial Corporation Ltd, which was also made an accused in the case. The court’s order was passed on the plea moved by Sahara chief and its directors seeking stay of the warrant and proceedings before the trial court.
On March 24, the trial court had sought the presence of all the accused before it on April 15. Senior advocate Rajeev Nair, appearing for Roy, contended that the case filed by IT department does not stand on its own leg. “The applicant (Roy) has resigned from the company in September last year. He has nothing to do with the present case,” Nair said, adding that even the company made accused has filed IT return on March 23 for 2013-14.
The counsel said all the accused were outside the jurisdiction of Delhi and they cannot be tried here. Senior advocate N Hariharan, appearing for other accused, contended that the trial court order was bad in law and asked: “how can it initiate proceeding against the person residing outside Delhi.” The advocate also contended that “the company was in loss and even then we have filed the return. We are seeking recovery of over Rs 20 crore against the returns filed in March 2015.”
The IT department, on February 13 this year, had filed a complaint in the trial court against the company and its directors, Subrata Roy, J B Roy, O P Srivastava and Ranoj Das Gupta for not filing the return of the company for 2013-14. They have been booked for offence under Section 276 CC of the IT Act which deals with failure to furnish return of income in due time.
The IT department’s complaint said several notices were issued to the firm and its directors. In their letters, the accused had sought time to file the return but did not do so even after they were granted time. Thereafter, the complaint was filed in the court, it said.