|CORAM:||Amarjit Singh (JM), Pramod Kumar (VP)|
|CATCH WORDS:||HSBC Black Money, Undisclosed Income|
|COUNSEL:||Mukesh Advani, Ved Jain|
|DATE:||July 16, 2020 (Date of pronouncement)|
|DATE:||July 17, 2020 (Date of publication)|
|FILE:||Click here to view full post with file download link|
|S. 68 Black Money: The sum of Rs 196 crore held by HSBC Pvt Bank, Switzerland, in the name of Tharani Family Trust, of which the assessee was a beneficiary, is assessable as the undisclosed income of the assessee. The assessee is not a public personality like Mother Terresa that some unknown person, with complete anonymity, will settle a trust to give her US $ 4 million, and in any case, Cayman Islands is not known for philanthropists operating from there; if Cayman Islands is known for anything relevant, it is known for an atmosphere conducive to hiding unaccounted wealth and money laundering. HSBC Pvt Bank has also been indicted by several Governments worldwide and how it has even confessed to be being involved in money laundering (All imp judgements on preponderance of human probabilities and ground realities referred)|
The assessee before us is closely involved with the transaction and it is inconceivable that the assessee will have no direct knowledge of the owners of the underlying company and settlors of the trust which has her, as she herself puts it, as beneficiary of such a huge amount. This inference is all the more justified when we take into account the fact that the assessee has been non-cooperative and has declined to sign the consent waiver. One of the arguments raised by the assessee that the assessee could not have performed the impossible act of signing consent waiver because she was not owner of the account is too naïve and frivolous to be even taken seriously. If the assessee was indeed not the owner of the account, there was all the more reason to sign the consent waiver form because it would have established that fact when the HSBC Private Bank (Suisse) Geneva was to decline the information on the basis of that consent waiver. A consent waiver signed by the assessee would have been infructuous in that case, and it could not have done any harm to the assessee. Consent waiver form does not prejudice the claim of the assessee that he does not own the account in question; all it does is, as can be seen from the extracts from consent waiver form format reproduced earlier, is that it waiver assessee‟s rights, if any, under the data protection and banking secrecy laws. The plea of the assessee, as noted earlier, is fit, if at all it is fit for anything, only to be rejected.