Sunday, October 4, 2015

Income Tax Authorities Allay Concerns Over Filing Returns

New Delhi: The Income Tax Department does not withhold refunds of small taxpayers nor does it generally select their tax returns for scrutiny and detailed analysis, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has said in an attempt to dispel two of the biggest concerns of this category of assessees.

CBDT Chairperson Anita Kapur said she would like to bust the myth and “fear psychosis” that once people file their tax returns, they automatically come on the radar of the taxman and then they are tracked.

Ms Kapur, in an interview to PTI, said in cases of neatly filed electronic income tax returns (ITRs), the department has set a deadline of six months for refunds to be generated and sent to the taxpayer.

“We tell the taxpayers that in e-file returns we take a maximum of six months to process it if you have a clean return and no TDS mis-match. But then there is a misinformation campaign that we hold refunds. I will say we don’t hold refunds for small taxpayers,” said the chief of CBDT, the apex policymaking body of the I-T department.

“For large taxpayers, if it is a scrutiny case, then we have to hold it as per law till the scrutiny assessment is over but not for small taxpayers if their ITRs are all correct,” she said.

“We are not interested in holding up small returns.”

Ms Kapur said her second area of concern over which she would like to put the record straight is the version that taxman puts the cases of small and middle-category taxpayers on the scrutiny list which entails submission of additional documents and visits to the assessing I-T officer.

Citing an example, she said no tax inspector can just go to a person, like a fruit-seller, and say he/she has to file his I-T return or that his/her return is going to be scrutinized.

“We are told that people are scared that once tax department knows about them after they have done filing (of ITR) then they are tracked and followed and they stay on the radar of the I-T department. We want to tell the taxpayers that only in less than one per cent cases you will be asked to come to the tax department for scrutiny of your case.”

“And even this less than one per cent category is not discretionary selection by the assessing officer. It is a computer-based programme where risk parameters are fed in, algorithm is developed, and based on that cases get selected,” she said.

The CBDT chief said that when these parameters are built in, they are done in a manner that “in fact, small taxpayers don’t get selected and these parameters are to detect big tax evasion”.

“So, small taxpayers should not be scared of entering the department, doing e-filing and even manual filing,” she said.

This kind of a fear psychosis, Ms Kapur said, is totally “unwarranted”.

“Now, when we are holding out this assurance to you that only less than one per cent cases I am going to scrutinize then I am not looking at small taxpayer. The tax evasion probability of a small taxpayer is less and hence he is not selected for scrutiny.”

“So, if a small taxpayer is willingly paying his taxes, we assume that why would he want to evade taxes? For us, it’s a good situation. This is one way of doing things for the small taxpayer,” she added.

7 Held at Indira Gandhi International Airport With 182 iPhones

7 Held at Indira Gandhi International Airport With 182 iPhones

The US-based tech giant Apple will unveil its latest iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus in India on October 16.

New Delhi:  Eager to cash in on the craze for iphones, seven youths were detained at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi with as many as 182 iPhone 6S and 6S Plus ahead of their India launch due this month.

These phones were seized recently from young people in their late 20s who had come from Hong Kong and Singapore on separate flights, officials said.

Acting on intelligence inputs, customs officials intercepted them and seized the iPhones.

“All of them were carrying iPhone 6S and 6S Plus in their baggage. We have seized 182 devices from them,” said Vinayak Azaad, Additional Commissioner, Customs, at the IGI airport.

Some of the youths were offered money to smuggle in the devices, the official said.

The US-based tech giant Apple will unveil its latest iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus in India on October 16.

The company has not disclosed the price of its new products for the Indian market.

Apple had sold over 13 million units of these phones on the first three days of the launch on September 25.

The new iPhone models were available for sale on September 25 across the US, the UK, Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, Puerto Rico and Singapore.

Incidentally, the seizure has been affected from the sector, that comprises Hong Kong and Singapore, infamous for gold smuggling.

“We maintain strict vigil on flights coming from Hong Kong, Singapore and other western and South Asian countries for gold smuggling. The officials have been sensitised on the possibility of smuggling of iPhones after the latest seizure,” Mr Azaad said.

He said the youths were detained and questioned to ascertain the end-use of the products to help unearth organised syndicates which might be behind it.

“There are chances of smuggling of iPhone 6S and 6S Plus ahead of their launch which is still 12 days away,” the official said.

Akhilesh Yadav Requests Government to Declare 3 State Highways as National Highways

UP Chief Minister Requests Government to Declare 3 State Highways as National Highways

File Photo: UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav

Lucknow:  Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav has written a letter to Union Minister of Shipping and Road Transport & Highways Nitin Gadkari requesting the declaration of three state highways as national highways.

Mr Yadav has requested to declare Jhansi-Khajuraho, Lipulekh-Bhind and Dohri Ghat-Azamgarh-Jaunpur-Allahabad routes as national highways.

“The CM has written a letter to Union Surface Transport Nitin Gadkari in this regard,” an official spokesman said in a statement issued in Lucknow.

He said that widening of these routes would help in development of infrastructure facilities and removing bakwardness.

The Chief Minister has referred to a letter written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on September 8 in which it was requested to declare four important routes as national highways and develop them as four lane.

Indrani Mukerjea Conscious, Out of Danger, Say Doctors

Indrani Mukerjea Conscious, Out of Danger, Say Doctors

Indrani Mukerjea was arrested in August and has been lodged at Mumbai jail since September 7.

Mumbai:  Indrani Mukerjea, accused of murdering her daughter, is no longer in critical condition, said doctors at the hospital where she was moved after an alleged suicide attempt in a Mumbai prison.

On Friday afternoon, Ms Mukerjea, 43 — a former media executive arrested in August for allegedly murdering her daughter Sheena Bora three years ago — collapsed after allegedly swallowing a combination of pills for depression and epilepsy.

But doctors today said that lab reports show there was no overdose. They told reporters that she is conscious now. “Her condition is good, we will observe her for 24 to 48 hours and then discharge her,” said TP Lahane, dean of JJ Hospital.

While a hospital lab said there were signs of an attempted overdose, results from a forensic lab said the opposite, causing significant confusion.  As it is, jail officials are unable to explain how Ms Mukerjea, who had been prescribed pills after being arrested, had managed to accrue the stash that led to her collapse.

Ms Mukerjea, who is married to former media mogul Peter Mukerjea, is charged with killing her daughter along with an ex-husband, Sanjeev Khanna, and a former driver. She founded broadcasting group INX Media with Mr Mukerjea in 2007.

17 Trains Cancelled Between Ambala Cantt-Chandigarh

Chandigarh:  Railways today cancelled 17 trains between Ambala Cantonment and Chandigarh in the wake of non-interlocking work between the two stations, officials said in Chandigarh.

“Some trains have been cancelled, some re-scheduled and some regulated between Ambala Cantonment and Chandigarh railway station due to non-interlocking work between the two stations,” officials said.

The trains have been cancelled, re-scheduled and regulated for six hours, the officials said.

The trains which stands cancelled, included Himalayan Queen, Ekta Express, Shatabdi Express and Jan Shatabdi Express.

While 20 trains have been re-scheduled, seven trains have been regulated passing through Ambala Cantonment junction, officials said.

These included Amritsar-Badra Express, Kalka-Bandra Express, Chandigarh-Jaipur Intercity, Amritsar-New Delhi Express, Shan-e-Punjab, Pathankot-New Delhi Express and Saharsa-Amritsar Express, the officials said.

In view of the work going on between the two stations, many commuters are facing hardship.

Opposition Parties Demand Municipal Re-Election in Bengal

Kolkata:  Opposition parties in West Bengal today demanded re-election in both Bidhannagar and Asansol municipal corporations, alleging that votes were looted amid violence turning yesterday’s polls into a ‘farce’.

“We want a total repoll in all booths in both Bidhannagar and Asansol corporations in view of the rampant corrupt practices and violence,” CPI(M) politburo member Mohd Salim said in Kolkata.

“The whole election process has been rendered a farce. The State Election Commission has the responsibility to hold the election in free and fair manner, but it has failed in its duty,” Salim said.

He also demanded re-election at Bally under Howrah Municipal Corporation.

“The Left Front will sit together and decide on the next course of action,” he said when asked what the Front would do if the SEC turned down its demand for holding fresh polls.

State BJP president Rahul Sinha also demanded re-election in all booths of Bidhannagar and most booths in Asansol.

“Votes were looted in all booths with the ruling party unleashing terror among genuine voters,” he said.

The polls in these two municipal corporations are considered important as these are the last key elections in the state before it goes to Assembly polls next year.

While the opposition parties have alleged that large number of outsiders had been brought in to intimidate and scare off genuine voters, the ruling Trinamool Congress has denied any such activity by the party.

“As the ruling party we will never want any breach of peace,” Partha Chatterjee, TMC secretary-general, has said and accused CPI(M) of trying to create disturbances during the polls.

A number of journalists covering the elections were also manhandled and a few of them had to be hospitalised.

Leaders of both opposition and the ruling party visited the injured journalists in hospitals this morning.

At Congress Function, Pigeons Stuffed in Rockets and Fired

Kovvuru, Andhra Pradesh:  A shocking video has surfaced in which Congress workers in Andhra Pradesh’s Kovvuru town have been seen stuffing live pigeons inside fire crackers and setting it alight.

The idea was that the pigeons will be released when the rockets burst and fly off – making for a grand spectacle during the visit of state Congress chief N Raghuveera Reddy.

But the rockets went up and the pigeons fell dead, roasted in the intense heat when the crackers burst high up.

In the video, the pigeons were seen being stuffed into paper cones fixed atop rockets. A cardboard lid was put on it and sealed tight. The rocket was then lit.

An NGO – People For Animals has filed a complaint with the police and an FIR has been lodged against the state Congress unit citing cruelty to animals. Cruelty to animals carries a punishment in India.

The local Congress unit is yet to comment on the matter.  


North Delhi Corporation Requests Arvind Kejriwal for Early Release of Funds

North Delhi Corporation Mayor Writes to Arvind Kejriwal Seeking Early Release of Funds

File photo of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.

New Delhi:  North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) Mayor Ravinder Gupta has asked Delhi Government for early release of municipal reforms fund and other grants so as to enable the civic body to pay salaries and pensions on time during the festive season.

Mr Gupta has written a letter to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal for immediate release of funds and grants under various heads. “The festive season is round the corner, all employees expect salaries, pensions and other payments on time,” he wrote in the letter.

Mr Gupta said due to “non-payment” of global share, municipal reforms fund and other grants to NDMC, financial situation of the civic body has become “worse”.

The Mayor apprised the Chief Minister through his letter that due to non-payment of pension by the corporation for more than a year, nearly 80,000 families have been suffering.

“As a result of cutting of funds of Rs 158 crore under education head and Rs 30 crore under health head, many important schemes are pending,” he said.

Mr Gupta has also urged the government to establish a strong coordination with NDMC for an early resolve of fund-related issues and better delivery of services to the people.


I Went by Coal Secretary's Advice: Manmohan Singh to CBI

File photo of former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. (Agence France-Presse)

New Delhi: 

He said Patnaik’s letter requesting a review of refusal to allocate the coal block to Kumar Mangalam Birla’s HINDALCO had led to the “re-opening” of the issue.

During the probe into the alleged scam in Talabira-II coal-block allocation, Singh was asked by CBI, “When the letter dated August 17, 2005 of Naveen Patnaik addressed to you as PM had only requested to provide required coal linkage for the important project of M/s HINDALCO, which was already allocated, why did you approve the accommodation of HINDALCO in the share of coal in Talabira-II coal block.”

Responding to the query, Mr Singh said, “This letter of CM of Odisha also mentioned about the allocation of Talabira-II coal block to M/s HINDALCO Industries Ltd. This was required to be looked into by the Ministry of Coal.

“It was interpreted by the MoC that the request in the letter was regarding issue of allocation of Talabira-II coal block. This recommendation was approved by me after it was examined by the PMO officials,” said Mr Singh, who was also the Coal Minister at that time.

“With regard to the query that giving coal block could be more beneficial financially to the company than giving a coal linkage as the price of coal from coal block is much cheaper than price of coal from coal linkage; I state that it is true of all allocations to the private sector,” Mr Singh said.

Mr Singh further said that if this logic was applied, the government should not make any allocation for the private sector.

“In this context, the recommendation of the Chief Minister of Odisha vide his letter dated August 17, 2005 favouring HINDALCO for allocation of Talabira-II is relevant,” he said.

While Mr Birla had written letters requesting the government to “change the decision” of not considering HINDALCO for the coal block, Patnaik had requested a review of the decision.

The special court had summoned Mr Singh, Mr Parakh, Mr Birla and others as accused in the case while refusing to accept CBI’s closure report.

They have all denied any wrongdoing in the case.

The Supreme Court had on April 1 stayed the trial court’s order summoning them as accused.

Mr Singh said while the Coal Ministry “interpreted” Patnaik’s request to be for allocation of the block, Mr Parakh had proposed to “accommodate” HINDALCO.

“This was approved by me after it was examined by the PMO officials,” the former Prime Minister said.

Mr Singh said the issue was to see whether HINDALCO could be accommodated without harming the interest of Neyveli Lignite Corporation Ltd (NLC), a PSU, which was initially recommended by screening committee for the block.

“On being asked as to why I approved the proposal of Secretary, MoC, to accommodate HINDALCO in the share of coal in Talabira-II coal block, though the SC (screening committee) had in its minutes mentioned that coal linkage of 3.06 MTPA had already been allocated to HINDALCO which was sufficient to meet the full requirement of 650MW power plant and that no separate coal block needs to be given for the Aditya Aluminium Project; I state that I went by the advice of Secretary (Coal) and as endorsed by the officials of the PMO,” Mr Singh said.

“It was due to the letter of the CM of Odisha (Patnaik) that the whole matter was re-opened. The issue was to see whether Birla could be accommodated without harming the interest of NLC,” he said.

As per the 25th screening committee, the case of a number of companies, including HINDALCO, was not considered favourable and it had decided to allocate Talabira-II coal block to NLC.

Manohar Promises Transparent and Corruption-Free Indian Cricket

Shashank Manohar Sharad Pawar

Shashank Manohar’s first stint as BCCI President was from 2008-2011 .


Shashank Manohar was unanimously elected as President of BCCI. Here are the highlights of what he said:

# BCCI is a huge brand in itself. Without the support of the fans, it would not have gotten big. I would like to carry forward the good work done by Jagmohan Dalmiya.

# The BCCI will appoint an ethics officer to look into the complaints of conflict of interest issue.

# The BCCI will also educate the players in order to wipe out corruption from the game.

# The accounts of all the state associations would be handled by an independent officer.

# Any expenditure spent in excess of 25 lakhs would be put out on the website.

# To clear the myth of lack of transparency, we will be putting out details on the website immediately.

# There are no spinners in country and it is the duty of the BCCI to see there is an available lot.

# BCCI would like to develop women’s cricket.

# Priority of BCCI will be to conduct 2016 World Twenty20 in the best possible manner.

# I will not exercise my chairman’s vote in the AGM until the constitution is amended.

# The BCCI will implement all the measures in two months period.

He was the Unanimous Choice

Manohar was the unanimous choice as BCCI President and this was confirmed in the Special General Meeting of the BCCI in Mumbai on Sunday.

This will be Manohar’s second stint as BCCI President, having taken over from Sharad Pawar in 2008/09. It lasted for three years and it ended in 2011 when N. Srinivasan was appointed as the BCCI President.

Manohar took over the post at the Board’s SGM which lasted less than half an hour. He was the only candidate left in the fray for the election in which the deadline for filing nomination ended Saturday evening.

The election was necessitated by the sudden demise of Jagmohan Dalmiya, who had a short term of seven months after his election in March this year. Dalmiya was made the interim President when Srinivasan “stepped aside” in the wake of revelations that his son-in-law was involved in betting during the 2013 IPL season.

All the six units of East Zone unanimously proposed Manohar’s candidature for the president’s post, reflecting Srinivasan’s diminishing hold in Board’s power politics.

A BCCI by-election needs only one proposer from the zone which is electing the president and it was the East’s turn this time. Manohar got the nod from all the six associations and was the lone nomination at the end of the 7 pm deadline yesterday.

Interestingly, one of the proposers for Manohar was Dalmiya’s son Avishek, who was representing his family club National Cricket Club (NCC) in the SGM.

Srinivasan skipped the meeting and the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association was represented by PS Raman.

The others who also proposed Manohar’s name were Sourav Ganguly from Bengal, Sourav Dasgupta from Tripura, Gautam Roy from Assam, Ashirbad Behera of Odisha and Sanjay Singh of Jharkhand State Cricket Association (JSCA).

His anointment also means that Srinivasan now has little chance of coming back into the BCCI fold till 2017 when the Vidarbha man’s tenure ends

Thakur Believes BCCI Will Carry on Reforms Under Manohar’s Leadership

Thakur has said that the BCCI will continue the reforms under leadership of new president Shashank Manohar, which the Board had started in the last six months.

“After the sad demise of Mr Dalmiya. It was important to continue the reforms taken place in last six months. We have seen the previous tenure of Manohar, where his work has been appreciated by everyone and we believe under his leadership BCCI will continue with the reforms which has taken place under Dalmiya’s leadership,” Thakur said. (Read More)

Manohar’s Experience Will Help Indian Cricket, Says Sourav Ganguly

Former India skipper Sourav Ganguly said he believes Manohar will do a good job. “A lot of important people have led BCCI in the past and Manohar has also done it quite well. I am sure he will do a good job,” said Ganguly, who has been named as Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) president. (Read More)

Hyderabad Traffic Police Registers 82 Cases of Drunken Driving

Hyderabad:  The Hyderabad traffic police which is on a special drive to curb drunken driving during daytime to curtail those who endanger their lives and others have registered 82 cases, a police official said in Hyderabad today.

During the special drive daytime (2 pm to 5 pm) carried out on October 1 and October 3, a total of 82 cases were registered against drunken drivers, including drivers of two-wheelers, three-wheelers and cars, Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic) Jitender said.

Drunken drivers will be counselled at all traffic police stations to ensure their safety and as well as other commuters and pedestrians, the police officials said.

The main aim of the special drive is to impart traffic education to violators of safety, the police official said, adding that the drive would continue.

Congress Slams Haryana Government for Hike in Power Tariff

Chandigarh:  Congress today slammed the Manohar Lal Khattar led BJP government in Haryana for raising power tariff.


“The BJP government in Haryana has hiked power tariff in a clandestine manner that has broken the backbone of all sections of society, including farmers, and small scale industry,” senior Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala said.


He said that in view of hike in power tariff the farmers and common man is getting “inflated” bills putting them into “miserable” condition.


Mr Surjewala, who is sitting Congress MLA from Kaithal, claimed the Khattar government had hiked power tariff by 40 to 50 per cent across the board.

“Due to anti-people policy of the BJP government, the small scale industry in the state is on the verge of closure,” he said leading a protest in his Kaithal constituency.


“People in urban areas are feeling cheated by the BJP government due to power tariff hike in a clandestine manner,” he said.


The employees of power utilities are raiding the houses of common man, employees and farmers and imposing heavy penalties on them, Mr Surjewala alleged.


Describing the hike in power tariff by the BJP government as a “Tughlaki order”, he said that the present dispensation had done away with the slab system which was enforced during the previous ten years rule of Congress.


Mr Surjewala alleged that the government had burdened the people by imposing municipal tax and fuel surcharge of about 1.72 per cent in the bills of consumers.


He claimed that there was acute power shortage in the state as villagers are getting power for eight to ten hours and there are undeclared power cuts for six to eight hours in cities.


Meanwhile, seeking immediate withdrawal of hike in power tariff, former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda announced that the Congress party will stage a demonstration in Panchkula on October seven in front of office of power utilities.


Taking a dig at Indian National Lok Dal (INLD), Mr Hooda said that “the party is working in coordination with the BJP rather then playing the role of opposition for the interest of people.