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M/s. Vetrivel Minerals, (V V Minerals), Rep. by its Managing Partner, S. Vaikundarajan & Another v/s The Assistant Commissioner of Income Tax, Central Circle-2, Income Tax Staff Quarters Complex, Madurai

    W.P(MD)Nos. 11261, 11271, 11272, 11273 & 11765 of 2021 & connected miscellaneous petitions

    Decided On, 03 August 2021

    At, Before the Madurai Bench of Madras High Court

    By, THE HONOURABLE MRS. JUSTICE J. NISHA BANU

    For the Petitioner: R. Gopinath, Advocate. For the Respondent: T.R. Senthil Kumar, Senior Standing Counsel assisted by K.G. Usha Rani, Standing Counsel.



Judgment Text


(Prayer: Petition filed under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, to issue a Writ of Certiorari, to call for the entire records relating to the impugned proceedings of the respondent dated 24.06.2021 in PANAAHFV2400N, DIN & Order No.ITBA/REC/S/154_1/2021-22/1033945481(1) for the assessment years 2013-14 to 2019-20 and the consequential rectification order dated 01.07.2021 and quash the same.

Petition filed under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, to issue a Writ of Certiorari, to call for the entire records relating to the impugned proceedings of the respondent dated 16.06.2021 in PANAAAFV1613J, DIN & Order No.ITBA/AST/S/153A/2021-22/1033501501(1) for the Assessment Year 2017-18 and quash the same.

Petition filed under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, to issue a Writ of Certiorari, to call for the entire records relating to the impugned proceedings of the respondent dated 16.06.2021 in PANAAAFV1613J, DIN & Order No.ITBA/AST/S/153A/2021-22/1033509916(1) for the Assessment Year 2018-19 and quash the same.

Petition filed under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, to issue a Writ of Certiorari, to call for the entire records relating to the impugned proceedings of the respondent dated 16.06.2021 in PAN-AAAFV1613J, DIN & Order No.ITBA/AST/S/143(3)/2021-22/1033511435(1) for the Assessment Year 2019-20 and quash the same.

Petition filed under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, to issue a Writ of Certiorari, to (i)call for the entire records relating to the impugned proceedings of the respondent dated 24.06.2021 in PANAAHFV2400N for the Assessment Year 2013-14 and quash the same; (ii)call for the entire records relating to the impugned proceedings of the respondent dated 24.06.2021 in PAN-AAHFV2400N for the Assessment Year 2014-15 and quash the same; (iii)call for the entire records relating to the impugned proceedings of the respondent dated 24.06.2021 in PAN-AAHFV2400N for the Assessment Year 2015-16 and quash the same; (iv)call for the entire records relating to the impugned proceedings of the respondent dated 24.06.2021 in PAN-AAHFV2400N for the Assessment Year 2016-17 and quash the same; (v)call for the entire records relating to the impugned proceedings of the respondent dated 24.06.2021 in PAN-AAHFV2400N for the Assessment Year 2017-18 and quash the same; and (vi)call for the entire records relating to the impugned proceedings of the respondent dated 24.06.2021 in PANAAHFV2400N for the Assessment Year 2019-20 and the consequential rectification order dated 01.07.2021 quash the same.)

Common Order

1. W.P(MD)No.11261 of 2021 is field by the petitioner challenging the common impugned order passed by the respondent for the Assessment Years 2013-2014 to 2019- 2020.

W.P(MD)No.11271 to 11273 of 2021 are filed by the petitioners challenging the individual assessment orders for the Assessment Years 2017-2018 to 2019-2020.

2. The Assessment Orders in the above writ petitions are passed under Section 153A of the Income Tax Act pursuant to a search conducted on 25.10.2018 in VV group of companies. The facts in all the cases are almost identical and the orders came to be passed pursuant to the group search conducted by the Income Tax Department. The ground of challenge are also identical and all the writ petitions are disposed of by this common order.

3. The petitioners assailed the impugned orders contending that it is in violation of the principles of natural justice, arbitrary, mechanical and without any independent application of mind and also stating that the Income Tax Department has not discharged the burden of proof, proving that the income determined and sought to be taxed were not from the materials seized during the time of search. The learned counsel for the petitioners relied on the following judgments namely,

a. M/s. All Cargo Global Logistics Ltd., vs. DCIT(ITA Nos.5018 to 5022 & 5059/M/10 dated 23.05.2012)

b. (2015) 374 ITR 645 – Commissioner of Income Tax vs. Continental Warehousing Corporation Ltd.

c. (2016) 380 ITR 573 - Commissioner of Income Tax vs. Kabul Chawla

d. (2016) 385 ITR 624 - Commissioner of Income Tax vs. St.Francis Clay Décor Tiles

e. (2017) 390 ITR 496 - Commissioner of Income Tax vs. Ajay Gupta

f. (2017) 395 ITR 526 - Commissioner of Income Tax vs. Meeta Gutgutia Prop. M/s.Ferns 'N' Petals

g. (2017) 397 ITR 82 – Principal Commissioner of Income Tax vs. Best Infrastructure (India) Pvt. Ltd.

and contended that in case of assessment under Section 153(A), the addition or disallowance can be made only from the materials found during the time of search. The petitioners along with the written arguments have annexed the orders of dismissal of the Special Leave Petition preferred by the Income Tax Department in Special Leave Petition(Civil) Diary No.18121/2018 as against the judgment reported in 395 ITR 526 in the case of Meeta Gutgutia wherein, the counsel for the writ petitioners contended that no incriminating materials were seized during the time of search and therefore no addition or disallowance can be made in an assessment under Section 153(A) of the Act and therefore contended that the impugned assessment orders were bad in law.

4. It was also contended that the department only relied upon the materials found in the brothers group of companies and residences and also the assessment in the case of the petitioners was framed only by taking into consideration the estranged brother's statement who belonged to the other group. He would further submit that even assuming some incriminating materials were found during the time of search pertaining to any person other than the person searched, then the recourse for the department is to proceed under Section 153C and not under Section 153A by placing reliance on paragraph 10 of the Division Bench judgment of the Delhi High Court in the case of MDLR Resorts(P) Ltd., reported in Taxman.com 365 (Delhi) High Court held that

''10. For clarity we would like to elaborate what has been briefly referred to above. Search warrant (i.e.Form No.45) were printed documents in which requisite blanks i.e., names and details have been filled by hand. Due to paucity of space in the column, the authority issuing the search warrant had put an, (*) mark and thereafter mentioned other names in respect of whom the search warrant had been issued.''

5. Further, the counsel for the petitioners also contended that the entire assessment on the petitioners was framed on the basis of the alleged secondary evidence of electronic records such as, Excel Sheet, Excel work sheet, Excel note book, Excel files, e-mail communication and Whatsapp conversation and the so called statement of the persons recorded under Section 132(4) of the Income Tax Act. The counsel for the writ petitioners contends by placing reliance on the judgment of the Supreme Court in the case of Anwar PV reported in (2014) 10 SCC 473 and also in the case of Arjun Pandit Rao reported in 2020 7 SCC 1 that since the mandatory requirement of Section 65B of the Indian Evidence Act has not been complied with in respect of any of the electronic records relied upon by the respondent, they being not admissible in evidence, the assessment orders being passed on the same, cannot be sustained in the eye of law.

6. It was further contended by the petitioners' counsel that depriving the assessee the opportunity to cross examine the persons whose statements were recorded under Section 132(4) of the Income Tax Act, were used for making additions/disallowance under Section 153(A) would amount to violation of the principles of natural justice.

7. The petitioners' counsel further pointed out that in spite of specific request by the petitioners, they were not allowed to cross examine the said persons, but the request was not even considered. The petitioners in support of his arguments placed reliance on the decision of the Delhi High Court in the case of PCIT vs. Anand Kumar Jain reported in 2021 SCC Online Del 3174 and the decisions of ITAT Delhi Bench in the case of Deputy Commissioner of Income Tax vs. M/s.Roger Enterprises (P) Ltd., reported in 2012 SCC Online ITAT 11821 and Brij Bhushan Singhal reported in 2018 SCC Online ITAT 2891 and the decision in the case of D.S.Suresh by the ITAT Bangalore Bench in ITA.No.462 and 463 Bang/2020.

8. The petitioners' counsel further contended that the petitioners were handicapped from effectively defending the proposals of additions and disallowance of the department in the absence of copies of the panchanama being given to them. The petitioner pointing out various communications of petitioners seeking for the copies of all the panchanamas, submitted that in the absence of the said panchanamas, the petitioners are not in a position to account as to what are all the seized materials and from which group, the said materials were seized and whether the seized materials has anything incriminating and whether the department was deliberately not considered most of the seized materials which otherwise would prove the genuineness of the transaction.

9. The petitioners' counsel further contended that in view of the assessment being framed under Section 153(A) of the Income Tax Act, the same has to be based on the incriminating materials found at the time of search. By denying the copies of the panchanamas, the petitioners were prevented from pointing out the materials relied by the department which were not found at the time of search in the premises of the petitioners.

10. The petitioners' counsel further submitted that at the time of consolidating the search proceedings, the department contended that the same has necessitated due to interlocking and interconnecting of funds of various groups. That being so, without any clarity as to which funds the alleged seized materials belong to, framing of the assessment orders is improper. The counsel for the petitioner also pointed out the earlier counter filed by the department in W.P(MD)No.16869 of 2019 and contended that the department has conceded that after centralisation, the petitioners are entitled for all the copies of seized materials but denying the same subsequently is illegal.

11. The petitioners further contended that in the case of W.P(MD)Nos.11271 to 11273 of 2021, the specific objections made in the communication dated 08.03.2021 were not even considered by the assessing officer. It was further pointed out that by the communications dated 08.09.2020 and 13.03.2020 the department has predetermined the liability therefore, on the wise of predetermining the issue, the assessment orders have to be set aside. The counsel for the petitioners pointed out various paragraphs in the show cause notice that show cause notices that preceded the assessment orders are identical and similar to the assessment orders and therefore, the counsel for the petitioners pleaded for quashing of the assessment orders as it is violative of the law laid down by the Supreme Court in the case of Siemens Ltd., vs. State of Maharashtra and others reported in (2006) 12 SCC 33 and Oryx Fisheries Private Limited vs. Union of India and others reported in (2010) 13 SCC 427.

12. The petitioners also pointed out that the assessment orders are mechanical orders passed without any independent application of mind and it was a cut and paste one from the predetermined show cause notice and communication dated 08.09.2020 and 13.03.2020.

13. The counsel for the petitioners also contended that as far as the writ petitions in W.P(MD)No.11271 to 11273 of 2021, are concerned, not only the specific objections raised by communication dated 08.03.2021 were not considered but also the statements made in paragraphs 3 and 4 of the assessment orders are completely false and the same demonstrates the mechanical manner in which the impugned orders came to be passed.

14. Per contra, the learned Senior Standing Counsel for the Income Tax Department contended that panchanamas were given to the concerned authorised persons and the petitioners' request for cross examination was not conducted, as the statements relied upon were recorded under Section 132(4) during the time of search from the employees of the petitioners and therefore it will not be given. The learned Senior Standing Counsel also pointing out the judgment of the Supreme Court in the case of Commissioner of Income Tax vs. Chhabil Dass Agarwal reported in [2013] 36 taxmann.com 36(SC) and the judgment of this Court in M.Vivek vs. Deputy Commissioner of Income Tax, Central Circle-2(i/c), Trichy, reported in [2020] 121 taxmann.com 366 (Madras), contended that in view of the alternative remedy available under the statute, the writ petitions are not maintainable. The learned Senior Standing Counsel also placing reliance on the Delhi High Court judgment MDLR Research Private Ltd., reported in 2013 40 taxmann.com 365, contended that panchanama is a document which can either be a) preceding documenting search with or without any seizure b) it can be a document for return of seized article or the removal of seals and c)it can also be a document evidencing the conclusion of the search and therefore, the petitioners cannot be aggrieved on account of the denial of copies of panchanama.

15. The learned Senior Standing Counsel relied on the judgment of the Single Bench of this Court cited supra and contended that proposed additions were not made only on the oral evidence made by the third parties, but it was based on the materials seized during the time of search. The learned Senior Standing Counsel placing reliance on the counter filed by the department made extensive submissions by reiterating the contentions found therein.

16. In response to the arguments submitted by the learned Senior Standing Counsel for the respondent, counsel for the petitioners submitted that in the case of violation of principles of natural justice, the alternative remedy cannot be a bar and also placed the following decisions for consideration of this Court.

i) (2018) 12 SCC 36, Jeans Knit (P) Ltd., vs. CIT

ii) (2020) 13 SCC 285, Maharashtra Chess Assn. vs. Union of India

iii) 2021 SCC Online Ker 269, V.Gopalan vs. Chief Commissioner of Income Tax

iv) 2021 SCC Online 334, Radha Krishnan Industries vs. State of H.P

v) 2021 SCC Online Del 3613, ESS Advertising (Mauritius) S.N.C. vs. Assistant Commissioner of Income Tax.

17. Further, the counsel for the petitioners contended that the excuse given for not furnishing the panchanama is an after-thought and the excuse is invented subsequently which can neither be sustained nor accepted as the law in this regard is no more res integra. For the said purpose, he argued placing reliance on the judgment of the Supreme Court in Mohinder Singh Gill and another vs. The Chief Election Commissioner, New Delhi and others reported in (1978) 1 SCC 405 which was followed in the cases of Chandra Ammal Educational and Charitable Trust vs. BSNL reported in 2015 SCC Online Mad 4419, N.Subburaj vs. District Collector reported in 2016 SCC Online Mad 4715 and Dr.Mary Nirmala Jeyaraj vs. Joint Director of Medical and Rurla reported in 2019 SCC Online Mad 18738.

18. On considering the arguments, documents and judgments cited by both sides, I find that the petitioners have sought for copies of panchanamas in the 63 places searched, but however, the department had admittedly not given all the panchanamas to the petitioners even though they accepted that the petitioners are entitled to the same in the counter filed in W.P(MD)No.16869/2019.

19. In the impugned order in W.P(MD)No.11261 of 2021, in paragraph 26.7, the respondent stated that it is practically impossible to give all the seized copies given the volume of materials seized from each premises. The department cannot take such stand. Whatever be the volume of the materials seized, the assessee also having demanded the same, the department is bound to have given all the copies. Again in paragraph 26.8 of the impugned order in W.P(MD)No.11261 of 2021, the department contends that it is illogical for the assessee to insist for the copies of the materials seized from the office, factories and residences of the Directors of M/s.Dhanalakshmi Srinivasan Sugars Pvt Ltd. However, as pointed out by the counsel for the petitioners, the documents seized from M/s.Dhanalakshmi Srinivasan Sugars Pvt Ltd., were discussed in the assessment order in paragraphs 22.4, 22.7 and 24.7. That being so, when the department using the said materials for framing of the assessment, copies of the same should have been given to the assessee. Moreover, in the typedset of papers filed by the respondent department in page 1, wherein a communication is found addressed by the petitioner dated 28.07.2020 wherein the petitioner has set out the persons who are Directors/Partners in each of the concern and it could be seen in M/s.Dhanalakshmi Srinivasan Sugars Ltd., the members belonging to the petitioners' group are also there. In the counter affidavit filed by the department in W.P(MD)No.11261 of 2021 in paragraph 19, the respondent department contends that copies of the one group cannot be given to other and in paragraph 18.6 of the counter filed in W.P(MD)No.11271 to 11273 of 2021, the assessing officer states that if specific materials were asked, he would have taken permission from the other group and supplied. As rightly pointed out by the learned counsel for the petitioners, this stand was not taken by the department before the passing of the assessment orders, but on the contrary as found in the communication dated 17.11.2020 at pages 299, 302, 304, 306, 308 and 310, the department demanded original panchanamas for giving copies of the seized document. Even assuming the stand taken by the department in their counters are justifiable, in the facts and circumstances of the case, the respondent department should have informed the same before passing the assessment order or atleast should have discussed the same in the assessment order.

20. Therefore, the stand taken by the department now by way of counter of non furnishing of panchanamas cannot be accepted. It is also not explained as to which are the concern, the respondent department concluded as belonging to the other group and what was the basis for such conclusion when the petitioners in its communication dated 28.07.2021 has explained their interest in every concern.

21. Therefore, non furnishing of the panchanama to the assessee is a violation of the principles of natural justice as it disables the petitioners from having knowledge of the seized materials and the alleged incriminating materials relied upon by the respondent department.

22. On the next issue of refusal of cross examination of the persons whose statements were recorded during the time of search under Section 132(4) of the Income Tax Act, it is trite law that the person against whom a statement is used, should be given opportunity to counter and contest the same. I am unable to accept the contention of the learned Senior Counsel that since the statements recorded were of persons who were employees of the assessee and therefore the assessee cannot seek for cross examination of them. The basic principles of jurisprudence governing the law of evidence can in no way interfered and could not be by the Income Tax Act provisions and neither the authorities functioning under the Income Tax Act has any discretion in such matters. The Supreme Court in the judgment Kishan Chadn Chellaram reported in 125 ITR 713 at page 720 which is also followed in the judgments cited by the petitioner in the case of Deputy Commissioner of Income Tax vs. M/s.Roger Enterprises (P) Ltd., reported in 2012 SCC Online ITAT 11821 and in the case of Brij Bhushan Singal vs. Assistant Commissioner of Income Tax reported in 2018 SCC Online ITAT 2891, held as follows:-

''It is true that the proceedings under the Income Tax Act law are not governed by the strict rules of evidence and therefore, it may be said that even without calling the Manager of the bank in evidence to prove this letter, it could be taken into account as evidence. But before the Income Tax authorities could rely upon it, they were bound to produce it before the assessee so that the assessee could controvert the statements contained in it by asking for the opportunity to cross examine the Manager of the bank with reference to the statement made by him. ....''

23. The counsel for the petitioners also placed the recent judgment of the Supreme Court in the case of ICDS Ltd., reported in 2020 10 SCC 529, wherein, the Apex Court has remanded back the matter on account of the assessee being deprived of cross examination. Therefore, the respondent either should not have relied on the statements recorded under Section 132(4) or in case, if they want to rely on the same, they should not have denied the opportunity to the petitioners when they demanded of cross examining the persons who gave the statement. When the department has taken a stand that there are two groups which were searched by a single warrant and that the companies of one group should not be given to another, as rightly pointed out by the learned counsel for the petitioners, the assessing officer should not have discussed the statement of the other group for framing the assessment of the petitioners. This completely vitiates the entire assessment proceedings.

24. As contended by the writ petitioners, when the entire assessment has been framed only on the basis of the so-called electronic record which are said to be copies of Excel Sheet, Excel work note book etc., non compliance of Section 65(B) of the Indian Evidence Act renders the document inadmissible in the eye of law as held by the Supreme Court in the judgment reported in Anvar P.V vs. P.K.Basheer and others reported in (2014) 10 SCC 473.

''14. Any documentary evidence by way of an electronic record under the Evidence Act, in view of Sections 59 and 65A, can be proved only in accordance with the procedure prescribed under Section 65B. Section 65B deals with the admissibility of the electronic record. The purpose of these provisions is to sanctify secondary evidence in electronic form, generated by a computer. It may be noted that the Section starts with a non obstante clause. Thus, notwithstanding anything contained in the Evidence Act, any information contained in an electronic record which is printed on a paper, stored, recorded or copied in optical or magnetic media produced by a computer shall be deemed to be a document only if the conditions mentioned under sub- Section (2) are satisfied, without further proof or production of the original. The very admissibility of such a document, i.e., electronic record which is called as computer output, depends on the satisfaction of the four conditions under Section 65B(2). Following are the specified conditions under Section 65B(2) of the Evidence Act:

(i) The electronic record containing the information should have been produced by the computer during the period over which the same was regularly used to store or process information for the purpose of any activity regularly carried on over that period by the person having lawful control over the use of that computer;

(ii) The information of the kind contained in electronic record or of the kind from which the information is derived was regularly fed into the computer in the ordinary course of the said activity;

(iii) During the material part of the said period, the computer was operating properly and that even if it was not operating properly for some time, the break or breaks had not affected either the record or the accuracy of its contents; and

(iv) The information contained in the record should be a reproduction or derivation from the information fed into the computer in the ordinary course of the said activity.

15. Under Section 65B(4) of the Evidence Act, if it is desired to give a statement in any proceedings pertaining to an electronic record, it is permissible provided the following conditions are satisfied:

(a) There must be a certificate which identifies the electronic record containing the statement;

(b) The certificate must describe the manner in which the electronic record was produced;

(c) The certificate must furnish the particulars of the device involved in the production of that record;

(d) The certificate must deal with the applicable conditions mentioned under Section 65B(2) of the Evidence Act; and

(e) The certificate must be signed by a person occupying a responsible official position in relation to the operation of the relevant device.

16. It is further clarified that the person need only to state in the certificate that the same is to the best of his knowledge and belief. Most importantly, such a certificate must accompany the electronic record like computer printout, Compact Disc (CD), Video Compact Disc (VCD), pen drive, etc., pertaining to which a statement is sought to be given in evidence, when the same is produced in evidence. All these safeguards are taken to ensure the source and authenticity, which are the two hallmarks pertaining to electronic record sought to be used as evidence. Electronic records being more susceptible to tampering, alteration, transposition, excision, etc. without such safeguards, the whole trial based on proof of electronic records can lead to travesty of justice.

17. Only if the electronic record is duly produced in terms of Section 65B of the Evidence Act, the question would arise as to the genuineness thereof and in that situation, resort can be made to Section 45A opinion of examiner of electronic evidence.

18. The Evidence Act does not contemplate or permit the proof of an electronic record by oral evidence if requirements under Section 65B of the Evidence Act are not complied with, as the law now stands in India.''

25. In view of the violation of the principles of natural justice and also due to the non compliance of Section 65(B) of the Indian Evidence Act, this Court feels that it is a fit case for setting aside the assessment orders. The alternative remedy under the statute is in the case of violation of principles of natural justice should be an effective one capable of remedying the violations by providing afresh, but however, it remains the fact that after amendment to Section 251(1)(a) of the Income Tax Act on 01.06.2001, the CIT(Appeals) does not have the power of remand. Therefore, in the facts and circumstances of the case, since the petitioners have made out a clear case of violation of principles of natural justice and the statute, this Court feels that it is a fit case for interfering with the impugned orders. In such circumstances, plea of alternative remedy which is also an effective one to undo the violations committed by the respondent, cannot be sustained. This Court is well within its power to set aside the impugned orders and remand back the same for fresh consideration. The Supreme Court in the recent judgment reported in (2020) 13 SCC 285, Maharashtra Chess Association vs. Union of India and others, negatived the contention of restriction on the exercise of the powers of the High Court under Article 226 of the Constitution of India and in this regard has held as follows:-

''19. This argument of the second respondent is misconceived. The existence of an alternative remedy, whether adequate or not, does not alter the fundamentally discretionary nature of the High Court's writ jurisdiction and therefore does not create an absolute legal bar on the exercise of the writ jurisdiction by a High Court. The decis

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ion whether or not to entertain an action under its writ jurisdiction remains a decision to be taken by the High Court on an examination of the facts and circumstances of a particular case. 22. The mere existence of alternative forums where the aggrieved party may seek relief does not create a legal bar on a High Court to exercise its writ jurisdiction. 26. As far as W.P(MD)No.11765 of 2021, is concerned, it is said to be filed only to overcome the technical objection raised by the respondent and not challenging the assessment orders separately. Therefore, the assessment orders impugned in the present writ petitions are set aside and the matter is remanded back to the respondent assessing officer for denova assessment and while doing so, the respondent officer shall, a) afford an opportunity of cross examination of the persons whose statements are relied upon by the respondent for making additions or disallowance ; b) give the details of all the seized materials including the place of seizure and give copies of seized material demanded by the petitioners. In case, the department thinks that the seized materials sought for by the petitioners does not belong to the petitioners or the petitioners' group, communicate the same to the petitioners and in such event, in the assessment orders that framed either on the concerns that do not belong to the petitioners/petitioners' group or the assessment orders that are framed on the basis of the seized materials refused to be given to the petitioners/members of the petitioners' group, there would be no tax liability on the petitioners or members of the petitioners' group; c) the respondent should strictly comply with Section 65-B of the Indian Evidence Act if the respondent wants to use the electronic document by way of secondary evidence; d) none of the statements of the other group should be taken into consideration while framing the assessment on the petitioners or members of the petitioners' group and if the department thinks it is necessary to use the statement of the other group members, the petitioners/members of the petitioners' group should be given opportunity for cross examination, if demanded of the persons whose statements are relied on, by the petitioners or members of the petitioners' group. e) In case, if the department wants to fix the tax liability on the petitioners or on the members of the petitioners group, based on the search conducted and materials seized during the search conducted in the premises of the other group or in case, if the department wants to rely on the statement recorded under Section 132(4) during search conducted in the premises of the members of the other group, the said assessment proceedings can only be under Section 153-C of the Act. The limitation if any would stand extended and would start afresh for completion of the fresh assessment proceedings. 27. The writ petitions are allowed with the above observations and directions. No costs. Consequently, connected miscellaneous petitions are closed.
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