The Tax Publishers2020 TaxPub(DT) 5464 (Del-HC) : (2021) 430 ITR 0218 : (2021) 277 TAXMAN 0576

CONSTITUTION OF INDIA, 1950

Article 226 and 227 Section 132(1) Section 132(1A)

On facts Warrant of Authorization (WoA) No. 757, dated 5-2-2019 was issued to the Primary Persons, i.e., the Kochar Group, and was in respect of the Petitioners Premises. WoA No. 7275, dated 12-2-2019 was issued to the petitioners and V. Chowdhary, and was in respect of their Locker No. 150F hence, petitioner's assumption and contention that, since V. Chowdhary was not the searched person under the WoA, dated 5-2-2019, his premises could only be searched under section 132(1A) of the Act, was entirely misconceived and was rejected.

Writ petition - Warrant of Authorization - Whether WoA was issued under section 132(1) or 132(1A) -

On 5-2-2019, WoA were issued under section 132(1) of the Act in the case of the 'Kochar Group', comprising of A. Singh Kochar, G. Singh Kochar, H. Singh Kochar and M/s. HL Impex (P) Ltd. 'Primary Persons'. Of the above WoAs, one in relation to A. Singh Kochar pertained to the residence-cum-office of the Petitioner – Vikas Chowdhary at E-12/3, V. Vihar, New Delhi 'Petitioner's Premises'. On 6-2-2019, a search and seizure operation was carried out at Petitioner's Premises pursuant to the above WoA, dated 5-2-2019 and was temporarily concluded after a period of four days, i.e., on 9-2-2019, at 09:00 PM, as revealed by one panchnama, dated 9-2-2019. On 12-2-2019, Respondent issued the impugned Warrant of Authorization (WoA) under section 132(1) of the Act against the Petitioner and his wife (Mrs. S. Chowdhary) to search Locker No. 150F–maintained with the Bank of India, Punjabi Bagh, New Delhi– key to which was found and seized on 9-2-2019. Then on 3-4-2019 at 5:30 PM, pursuant to the impugned WoA, dated 12-2-2019, search was conducted at Locker No. 150F. Jewellery valued at Rs. 1,00,67,181 was found and seized. The question which required to be answered was whether the search conducted in the Petitioner's Premises on 6-2-2019 was under section 132(1A) or section 132(1). Held: The search and seizure under section 132(1) in respect of the Kochar Group was carried out at the premises of Vikas Chowdhary on 6-2-2019. Court would like to add that court was also perused the WoAs issued by respondent No. 2 under which searches were initiated. As shown to court, both have been issued in Form No. 45, under section 132 read with rule 112(1) of the IT Rules, 1962. WoA No. 7257, dated 5-2-2019 was issued to the Primary Persons i.e. the Kochar Group, and was in respect of the Petitioner's Premises. WoA No. 7275, dated 12-2-2019 was issued to the Petitioners S and V Chowdhary, and was in respect of their Locker No. 150F. Thus, the distinction sought to be drawn by petitioner was wholly irrelevant. Further, the assumption and contention that, since V. Chowdhary was not the searched person under the WoA, dated 5-2-2019, his premises could only be searched under section 132(1A) of the Act, was entirely misconceived and was, therefore, rejected.

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