Tax Evasion Case: HC judge recuses from hearing petition against Capt Amarinder Singh, son

“List this case before some other bench after obtaining orders from the Hon’ble Chief Justice,” Justice Harinder Singh Sidhu said in an order while recusing himself.

A Punjab & Haryana High Court judge Thursday recused himself from hearing a petition pertaining to the cases of alleged income tax evasion filed against Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh and his son Raninder Singh.

“List this case before some other bench after obtaining orders from the Hon’ble Chief Justice,” Justice Harinder Singh Sidhu said in an order while recusing himself.

The order directed the trial court in Ludhiana, which is also hearing the cases — two against Raninder and one against Amarinder Singh — to “defer the passing of final order to a date beyond the date on which this case is listed for hearing”.

In April 2017, the (Ludhiana) trial court of chief judicial magistrate Jaapinder Singh, who was later replaced, had summoned the father-son duo to attend court hearings and face trial.

However, alleging that they were wrongly summoned, Amarinder and Raninder had moved revision petitions in the upper court. In November 2018, the court of additional sessions judge Rajeev K Beri quashed the summoning orders passed by the trial court. However, the Income-Tax department moved high court against the quashing of the summoning orders and the case was listed for hearing Thursday, from which Justice Sidhu recused himself.

According to the high court website, Justice Harinder Singh Sidhu has “remained Assistant Advocate General, Deputy Advocate General and Additional Advocate General, Punjab”. He was “elevated as Additional Judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court on 28th December, 2013 and thereafter as Permanent Judge on 19th December, 2014”.

Meanwhile, the trial court in Ludhiana, which had a scheduled hearing for Thursday, deferred it to July 27.

Rakesh Gupta, counsel for I-T department said, “As per the order received from high court, the hearing in Ludhiana court was deferred as a related case is pending for hearing in the HC”.

Amarinder and his son were booked in three cases filed by I-T department for allegedly “amassing wealth in foreign countries by floating various corporation entities/trusts… and then furnishing false information to Income Tax department to evade Income Tax”. It had submitted additional evidence on July 5, including some confidential and testified documents procured from the authorities abroad, and contended that the documents were “necessary for establishing the link between the accused and the foreign corporate entities” and “necessary for just decision of the case”.

A case against Amarinder Singh is registered under section 277 (false statement of verification) of the I-T Act while two other cases against Raninder are registered under section 276-C (evasion of tax) and section 277 of the I-T Act, with I-T department being the complainant in all three cases.

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