Court fixes Jan 27 for hearing cases against Pradip Burman

New Delhi: A Delhi court today fixed January 27 for recording of pre-charge evidence in two alleged tax evasion cases involving Pradip Burman, one of Dabur India promoters whose name has figured in the list given by the Centre to the Supreme Court in the blackmoney issue.

The matter was fixed for January 27, 2015 as Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Devender Kumar Sharma, who had earlier granted bail to Burman, was on half-day leave. The court was scheduled to record pre-charge evidence in the cases from today and testimony of complainant and income tax officer Gaurav Dudeja is likely to be recorded first.

Burman was not present in the court today as he sought exemption from personal appearance for the day. The court had earlier granted bail to Burman but barred him from leaving the country. The court had directed that he will not leave the country without its prior permission after the Income Tax (IT) department argued that there was a likelihood that accused may leave the country to avoid his prosecution in the case.

According to IT department's complaint, Burman was holding foreign bank accounts but he did not disclose about it in his income tax returns and there were undisclosed deposits in those two accounts. Advocate Brijesh Garg, appearing for IT department, said when Burman was questioned, he denied having any account in foreign bank but later on, when he was confronted with several documents, he allegedly admitted having bank accounts abroad.

Two separate cases were lodged against Burman under the IT Act for the offences relating to concealment of income and tax evasion. The cases relates to assessment years 2006-07 and 2007-08. The court, after taking cognisance of the complaint by the IT department, had summoned Burman as accused in the cases.

Burman had earlier appeared in the court in pursuance to summons issued against him. Burman's counsel had earlier sought bail on the ground that they were complaint cases and his client was ready toabide by any terms and conditions imposed by the court. IT department's counsel Garg has submitted that the complaint was filed against Burman for evasion of tax and for furnishing false information/verification.

"The present case is out of several cases in respect to black money for which investigation is going on by the and under the supervision of Special Investigation Team (SIT)constituted by the Supreme Court of India," Garg had said. The Centre on October 27 has disclosed before the apex court eight more names including that of Burman, a bullion trader and Goa miners against whom it has started prosecution for allegedly stashing black money in foreign banks.

Rajkot-based bullion trader Pankaj Chimanlal Lodhya and Goa-based mining company Timblo Private Limited and its fivedirectors were among the names that figured in the list which was filed in the Supreme Court by the government. While Burman's name was received from French authorities, the names of Lodhia and others have been received from "other countries".

Shortly after the disclosure in the Supreme Court, 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) was an NRI, and was legally allowed to open this account," a Dabur spokesperson had said in a statement.

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