Dabur promoter Pradip Burman, whose name has come up in a black money list submitted by the government to Supreme Court, has "wilfully attempted to evade tax" by not disclosing his foreign bank account in the initial return, Income Tax Department told a city court on Thursday.
Burman also committed an offence under the Income Tax (IT) Act by not furnishing the details or statements of the foreign bank account and wilfully made false statement during verification of his original income tax return, Gaurav Dudeja, a senior IT Department officer, claimed in the court.
While deposing as a witness during recording of pre-charge evidence, he said "the accused has wilfully attempted to evade tax by not disclosing his foreign bank account in his original return of income filed and said amount was declared only after the information was received by the department, on the initiative of the department and has thus committed offence under section 276 c(1) (willful attempt to evade tax, penalty, interest) of the IT Act."
Dudeja told Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Devendra Kumar Sharma that Burman had filed IT return for the 2006-07 assessment year declaring his taxable income as Rs 66.3 lakh but did not mention the amount in the foreign bank.
73-year-old Burman is facing prosecution in a complaint filed by the Department alleging that he was holding a foreign bank account which he has not disclosed in his IT returns and there were undisclosed deposits in that account.
The witness said information was received regarding Burman's foreign bank account with HSBC, Zurich (Switzerland) which he had not disclosed in his return.
Burman, however, later admitted in his letter to the department about the undisclosed income in foreign account and showed willingness to pay tax on the account's balance, Dudeja testified.
He said that in response to the IT notice, Burman filed a revised return of income for the assessment year 2006-07 declaring taxable income of Rs 82.3 lakh including income from other sources as Rs 18.2 lakh on account of foreign bank account which he had not declared earlier.
Burman did not file the details of foreign account on the ground that he did not have its statements, he said.
The IT officer also recorded statement in the second case lodged against Burman relating to assessment year 2007-08.
The court recorded the statement of another witness, Ridhima Vashist, an IT Department officer.
The court has fixed April 17 for further recording the pre-charge evidence in two alleged tax evasion cases involving Burman, who was earlier granted bail but barred by the court from leaving the country without its permission.
Shortly after the disclosure in the Supreme Court in October last year, Dabur India promoter family, Burmans had said the account complied with all legal requirements.
"We wish to state that this account was opened when he (Pradip Burman) was an NRI, and was legally allowed to open this account," a Dabur spokesperson had said in a statement then.
The department has booked him for offences punishable under sections 276C(1) (willful attempt to evade tax, penalty, interest), 276D (failure to produce accounts and documents) and 277 (false statement in verification) of the IT Act.
The IT department's complaint had said when Burman was questioned, he had denied having any account in foreign bank. But later when confronted with several documents, he had allegedly admitted to having bank accounts abroad.
Two separate cases were lodged against Burman under the IT Act for offences relating to concealment of income and tax evasion. The cases relate to assessment years 2006-07 and 2007-08.
IT department's counsel had earlier said "this case is out of several cases in respect to black money for which probe is going on by the and under the supervision of Special Investigation Team (SIT) constituted by the Supreme Court."
Government had on October 27 last disclosed before the apex court eight names including that of Burman, against whom it started prosecution for allegedly stashing black money in foreign banks.