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I-T dept asks Geelani to explain funds

By Sumir Kaul in Srinagar
September 02, 2003 18:15 IST
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The Income Tax department is questioning firebrand Jamaat-e-Islami leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani and his relatives asking them to furnish answers to a questionnaire about their sources of income.

The questionnaire followed the assessment of his wealth by the IT department following a series of raids conducted at his residence and other places in June last year.

The department had raided Geelani's residence and other places of his relatives on June 9 last year and seized Rs 10.2 lakh and US $10,000 in cash, vouchers showing purchase of substantial jewellery, a diamond-encrusted watch inscribed with 'From Pakistan Government' besides documents pertaining to purchase of property and vehicles.

Geelani had shown an annual income of Rs 17,100 -- Rs 7,100 as pension from the state assembly as a former MLA and Rs 10,000 as agricultural income.

According to the assessment made by the Income Tax department, the monthly expenditure of Geelani allegedly ranged from Rs 100,000-Rs 150,000 as he had 15 servants at his residence and his wife had confirmed that she used to get Rs 25,000 per month to run kitchen expenses.

Geelani, meanwhile, has responded to the Income Tax notice and asked the tax department to show him the documents seized from his residence last year.

The sources also said that Geelani had appointed a chartered accountant to file his returns to the Income Tax department.

"We can only levy a financial penalty against him (Geelani) for possessing wealth beyond what he has disclosed in his annual returns," a senior IT official said.

Notices had been served on relatives of Geelani who also were asked to furnish details about their income.

However, Geelani's son-in-law in New Delhi Iftikhar Geelani had not been served with any notice by the Income tax department even though he was also raided by the taxman on June nine last year.

The sources said there was nothing against Iftikhar and his financial transactions were clear and devoid of any fraud nor had he received any funds from abroad.

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Sumir Kaul in Srinagar
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