IN THE DELHI HIGH COURT
MANMOHAN & SANJEEV NARULA, JJ.
Shilpa Chowdhary v. Pr. DIT
W.P. (C) No. 5207/2020 & CM Appl. No. 18787/2020 & W.P. (C) No. 5213/2020 & CM Appl. 18805/2020
7 December, 2020
Petitioner by: G.C. Srivastava and Suvinay K. Dash, Advocates
Respondents by: Raghvendra Singh, Senior Standing Counsel and Easha Kadian, Advocate
Sanjeev Narula, J.
The petitioners, wife and husband, by way of separate writ petitions under Article 226 and 227 of the Constitution, impugn the validity and legality of the search action initiated by the Respondents. They seek, inter alia, (i) quashing of the impugned Warrant of Authorization (hereinafter referred to as 'WoA'); (ii) declaration that the search and seizure, conducted on them is illegal, void and without authority of law, and the exercise is without jurisdiction; (iii) direction to the Respondents to release the entire material and valuables seized under the search action; and (iv) quashing of the notices issued under sections 153A/143(3) of the Income Tax Act, 1961 (hereinafter referred to as the 'Act'). Considering that in both the petitions the factual narrative, nature of reliefs sought and the grounds of challenge are nearly identical, the same are being decided by way of this common judgment.
Facts in W.P.(C) 5213/2020
2. The facts of the case, shorn off unnecessary detail, are as follows :--
2.1. On 5-2-2019, WoA were issued under section 132(1) of the Act in the case of the 'Kochar Group', comprising of Sh. Avtar Singh Kochar, Sh. Gyandeep Singh Kochar, Sh. Hari Singh Kochar and M/s. HL Impex (P) Ltd. (hereinafter collectively referred to as 'Primary Persons'). Of the above WoAs, one in relation to Sh. Avtar Singh Kochar pertained to the residence-cum-office of the Petitioner Shri Vikas Chowdhary at E-12/3, Vasant Vihar, New Delhi (hereinafter referred to as 'Petitioner's Premises').
2.2. 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. The said search commenced at 12:30 PM 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. The said panchnama, prepared under the said WoA issued against the Primary Persons, inventorise the items found at the Petitioner's Premises, which comprised of :--