Even without verifying the facts, some leading Bengaluru business tycoons have jumped in to crucify the Income Tax authorities for Cafe Coffee Day (CCD) chain founder VG Siddhartha's unfortunate decision to end his life. In a letter purportedly signed by him, while taking the entire blame on himself for the “mistakes”, he has accused the former DG, Income Tax, for harassing him by attaching his shares that caused serious liquidity crunch. On the other hand, the IT authorities have clarified that the searches were based on solid evidence of tax evasion and that the attachments were ordered to safeguard interest of revenue, which in any case was later revoked on Siddhartha’s request. According to them, even though Siddhartha had admitted to huge unaccounted for income, he did not include the entire admitted concealed income in his IT return. The action of IT authorities ordering provisional attachments of Siddhartha’s assets are in accordance with the law, which may possibly cause financial hardship, but cannot be called “harassment”. At the same time, tax authorities must also exercise such powers judiciously so as not to bring a business entity’s legitimate business to a grinding halt leading to a chain of adverse economic consequences.
S K Choudhury, Bengaluru
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