India Never Accepted 'Queen' Not Answerable To Law, Says Arun Jaitley
In a sharp dig at Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday said India has never accepted that the 'queen' is not answerable to the law and asked her and Rahul Gandhi to contest the issue in courts instead of disrupting Parliament
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In a sharp dig at Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday (10 December) said India has never accepted that the 'queen' is not answerable to the law and asked her and Rahul Gandhi to contest the issue in courts instead of disrupting Parliament.
Rejecting the Congress charge of political vendetta being pursued by the government, he said the Government has "so far not taken any punitive action".
Posting his comments on Facebook, Jaitley was apparently referring to the Congress plea against summons issued to Sonia, her son Rahul Gandhi and others, which was dismissed by Delhi High Court. The Congress later changed tact and submitted to the trial court that they were ready to appear.
Without naming Sonia or Rahul Gandhi, Jaitley said the Congress leaders created a 'Chakravyuh' for themselves through a series of financial transactions where tax-exempt income of a political party was transfered to a real estate company.
"The Enforcement Directorate has not issued any notice to them. The Income Tax authorities will follow their own procedure... The Government has passed no order in relation to the disputed transactions," he said.
Detailing the issues involved, he said a Criminal Court had taken cognisance of the offence and the High Court agreed with the Trial Court.
"The battle has to be fought legally. But the results of legal battles are always uncertain. The Congress is, therefore, crying foul and calling it political vendetta," he said asking if the charge was against the courts. The minister said there was equality before the law for everyone.
"No one is above the law. India has never accepted the diktat that the queen is not answerable to the law. Why should the Congress Party and its leaders not contest the notice before the Court?
"The Government cannot help them in the matter, nor can the Parliament. Why then disturb the Parliament and prevent the legislative activity from continuing?," he said.
Jaitley said the answer to the Congress leadership landing up in a 'Chakravyuh' is to fight their battle legally and not disrupt Parliament. "By disrupting democracy the financial web created by the Congress leaders cannot be undone," he said.
Congress has for three days in a row stalled functioning of the Rajya Sabha, where the crucial Goods and Service Tax (GST) is awaiting approval for rolling out the landmark indirect tax regime from April 1, 2016.
In the Facebook post titled 'Why The Congress is Wrong', Jaitley termed the party's charge of political vendetta as "Goebbelsian propaganda".
Joseph Goebbels was the 'Public Enlightenment and Propaganda' Minister of Adolf Hitler and the 'Goebbelsian propaganda' refers to the strategy that 'if you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it'.
Jaitley said a company was created for the purpose of starting a newspaper 'National Herald' and the company got prime land allocated in several parts of the country but today there is no newspaper.
"There is only land and built-up structures which are being commercially exploited," he said.
Political parties, he said, are entitled to collect funds for its political activities for which they get exemption from payment of income tax.
"Rupees ninety crores from amongst the funds collected by the Congress Party are given to the newspaper company. Prima facie, it can be said that there a breach of the provisions of the Income Tax Act in as much as an exempted income is used for a non-exempt purpose," he said.
He claimed that Rs 90 crore debt was assigned to a Section 25 company -- a firm formed for promoting art, science, religion, charity or any other useful object -- for Rs 50 lakh.
"Tax exempted money effectively gets transferred to a real estate company. The real estate company now acquires 99 per cent of the share-holding of the former newspaper company.
"Effectively, the Section 25 company substantially controlled by the leaders of the Congress Party now owns all the properties acquired for a newspaper publication, and for virtually no consideration, the Section 25 company owns all the assets. This profit will become huge taxable income in its hands," he said.
Describing BJP leader Subramaniam Swamy, on whose petition the trial court had initiated legal proceedings, as a "private citizen", Jaitley said, "It is the duty of every citizen to report an offence when it comes to his notice. Any citizen can set the process of criminal law into motion."
A trial court, acting on Swamy's complaints, issues summons, after which the accused leaders of the Congress move the Delhi High Court for quashing. Delhi High Court granted them an interim protection but eventually dismissed the petition.
"The accused now have two alternatives. They can either challenge the order in the Supreme Court or appear before the trial court and contest the case on merits," he said.
Jaitley asked why Congress party and its leaders not contest the notice before the court.
"The Government cannot help them in the matter, nor can the Parliament. Why then disturb the Parliament and prevent the legislative activity from continuing?
"The answer to the Congress Party’s leadership landing up in a 'Chakravyuh' is to fight their battle legally and not disrupt Parliament. By disrupting democracy the financial web created by the Congress leaders cannot be undone," he said.
Stating that "facts" clearly point to Congress leaders creating a 'Chakravyuh' through a series of financial transactions, he said, "they have to find their own exit route out of the Chakravyuh."
They have acquired properties worth a huge amount without spending anything and they have used tax exempted income for a non-exempted purpose, he added.
"They have transferred the income of a political party to a real estate company.
They have created huge taxable income in favour of the real estate company," he said.
"The results of legal battles are always uncertain. The Congress is, therefore, crying foul and calling it political vendetta. Is that a charge against the Courts?," he asked.