Face trial in cases filed by I-T Dept, HC tells SJ Suryah
CHENNAI: The Madras High Court directed actor and film director SJ Suryah to face trials in cases booked by the Income Tax Department for not filing I-T returns for six financial years since 2002 for the tax dues worth the tune of Rs.7.57 crore.
Justice G Chandrasekharan passed the orders on dismissing the petitions filed by Suryah. The petitioner sought a direction from the judge to quash all the 6 cases filed against him by the I-T which are pending before the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, economic offences wing court, Allikulam campus.
"The I-T department made out a prima facie case to proceed against the petitioner for the offences alleged in the complaint. Section 278 (e) of the Income Tax Act 1964 empowers the court to presume the culpable mental state of the accused unless the accused shows that he has no such mental state in respect of the act charged as an offence in the prosecution. In this view of the matter, the court feels that the petitioner shall necessarily face the trial, " Justice Chandrasekharan held.
Senior advocate NR Elango appearing for Suryah submitted that the complaint is premature when the proceedings before the department are yet to conclude and reach finality.
However, N Sheela, the special public prosecutor for the I-T department submitted that the complaints have been filed as an offshoot of survey and search proceedings which witnessed the suppression of income by the accused.
Since the petitioner submitted that the IT Appellate Tribunal has held all these proceedings as null and void, the I-T department countered that it has been consistently held by the courts that the order of the assessment by the appellant authority will not be a bar for criminal prosecution.
Concurring with the department's public prosecutor, the judge pointed out several judgements of the Apex Court saying that the adjudication proceedings and criminal proceedings could be launched simultaneously as both are independent of each other.
"In a case of Radheshyam Kejriwal vs Government of West Bengal and another in 2011, the SC held that the adjudication proceedings are not binding the proceedings of criminal prosecution, " the judge noted while dismissing the petition of Suryah.
The cases were filed for the violation of several provisions of the I-T Act, 1961 as the accused did not pay taxes to the tune of Rs.7.57 crore by SJ Suryah for the financial years 2002-2003, 2003-2004, 2004-2005, 2005-2006, 2006-2007 and 2009-2010 for the remuneration which he received for acting and directing films in Tamil and Hindi.