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Sahara Diary: Tax Panel Accepts Firm's Claim Seized Papers Not Evidence

Sahara India has been granted immunity from prosecution and penalty following raids conducted on November 2014 during which “diaries” listing alleged pay-offs to politicians were recovered, The Indian Express reported on Thursday.

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Updated:January 5, 2017, 11:02 AM IST
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Sahara Diary: Tax Panel Accepts Firm's Claim Seized Papers Not Evidence
An electronic billboard advertising Sahara Group is seen on top of a building (Reuters)
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New Delhi: Sahara India has been granted immunity from prosecution and penalty following raids conducted on November 2014 during which “diaries” listing alleged pay-offs to politicians were recovered, The Indian Express reported on Thursday.

The 50-page order by the Income Tax Settlement Commission (ITSC) says that the panel agreed with Sahara’s claim that the “evidentiary value" of the “loose sheets” recovered during the raids could not be proved by the Income Tax Department.

The final page of the order states that only Rs 137.58 crore seized during the raids will now be taxed and the company can make the payments in 12 instalments since the company is passing through "difficult times."

According to The Indian Express, the ITSC order came after just three hearings on November 10, 2016. “Usually, the ITSC is given about 18 months to pass the verdict and insiders say rarely is an order passed in less than 10-12 months,” the paper said.

The controversial Sahara diaries that have alleged payoffs to over 100 politicians from more than 14 parties has led to major bickering between the Centre and the Opposition parties.

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi had referred to the Sahara Diaries and alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi received pay-offs during his tenure as CM of Gujarat, a charge that BJP dismissed as baseless.

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