In the Assessment Year in question the Assessee claimed that he had sold the shares of four companies, namely, M/s Alang Industrial Gases Ltd., Mobile Telecommunication Ltd., M/s Rashel Agrotech Ltd. and M/s. Sentil Agrotech Ltd, which were purchased during the year 1999-2000 and 2000-2001. The entire sale consideration amounting to Rs.1,41,08,484/ was utilised for the purchase of a flat at Colaba, Mumbai and accordingly benefit of section 54E of the Income Tax Act, 1961 was claimed.
The Assessing Officer has held that neither the purchase nor sale of shares were genuine and that the amount of Rs.1,41,08,484/ stated to have been received by the Assessee on sale of shares was undisclosed income and accordingly made addition under section 69 of the Income Tax Act, 1961. The Appeal filed by the Assessee was dismissed by CIT (A).
On further Appeal, the ITAT by the impugned order allowed the claim of the Assessee by recording that the purchase of shares during the year 1999-2000 and 2000-2001 were duly recorded in the books maintained by the Assessee. The ITAT has recorded a finding that the source of funds for acquisition of the shares was the agricultural income which was duly offered and assessed to tax in those Assessment Years. The Assessee has produced certificates from the aforesaid four companies to the effect that the shares were infact transferred to the name of the Assessee. In these circumstances, the decision of the ITAT in holding that the Assessee had purchased shares out of the funds duly disclosed by the Assessee cannot be faulted.
Similarly, the sale of the said shares for Rs.1,41,08,484/ through two Brokers namely, M/s Richmond Securities Pvt. Ltd. and M/s. Scorpio Management Consultants Pvt. Ltd. cannot be disputed, because the fact that the Assessee has received the said amount is not in dispute. It is neither the case of the Revenue that the shares in question are still lying with the Assessee nor it is the case of the Revenue that the amounts received by the Assessee on sale of the shares is more than what is declared by the Assessee. Though there is some discrepancy in the statement of the Director of M/s. Richmand Securities Pvt. Ltd. regarding the sale transaction, the Tribunal relying on the statement of the employee of M/s. Richmand Securities Pvt. Ltd. held that the sale transaction was genuine.
In these circumstances, the decision of the ITAT in holding that the purchase and sale of shares are genuine and therefore, the Assessing Officer was not justified in holding that the amount of Rs. 1,41,08,484/ represented unexplained investment under Section 69 of the Income Tax Act, 1961 cannot be faulted.
We are Reproducing below the Relevant Extract from the ITAT Judgment in the above case :-
10. We heard both sides in detail and perused rival contentions in the light of the records of the case and the paper book filed by the assessee. In the return of income filed by the assessee for the year under appeal, the purchase of flat at Colaba for a consideration of Rs. 2,06,72,904 was reflected. The assessee’s contribution in the purchase of the flat was @ 70 per cent for which the investment amounted to Rs. 1,44,71,033. The source of investment was, among other things, the sale proceeds of shares of Rs. 1,41,08,484. This amount has been questioned by the revenue authorities.
10.1 The assessee has purchased the shares of four companies viz., Allan Industrial Gases Ltd., Mobile Telecom, Rashee Agrotech and Centil Agrotech, during the previous years relevant to the assessment years 1999-2000 and 2000-01. The books of account maintained by the assessee for both the years clearly reflected the purchase of those shares. The shares are reflected in the balance sheets filed by the assessee along with the returns of income for the assessment years 1999-2000 and 2000-01. Therefore, it is seen that as a prima facie evidence, the purchases of shares have been contemporaneously entered into the books of account of the assessee.
10.2 The assessee has been declaring agricultural income in his returns of income for the assessment years from 1990-91 to 2001-02. The total agricultural income returned by the assessee up to the assessment year 1999-2000 was at Rs. 7,57,883. The amount invested in the purchase of shares as on 31-3-1999 was Rs. 4,48,160. The cash available with the assessee by way of agricultural income was much higher than the investment made by the assessee in the purchase of shares as on 31-3-1999. After making the investments in the shares, the assessee had a surplus cash balance of Rs. 3,09,000 as on 1-4-1999. Thereafter, the assessee has further returned an agricultural income of Rs. 66,000 for the assessment year 2000-01. The amount invested in the purchase of shares in the year ending on 31-3-2000 was Rs. 2,57,020. Again the assessee had a cash balance thereof of Rs. 1,18,771. Therefore, it is, very clear that the investment made by the assessee in shares during the previous periods relevant to the assessment years 1999-2000 and 2000-01 was supported by cash generated out of agricultural income. The above agricultural income have been considered in the respective assessments. Therefore, the contention of the assessing authority that the assessee had no sufficient resourcefulness to make investments in the shares is unfounded.
10.3 Purchase and sale of shares outside the floor of Stock Exchange is not an unlawful activity. Off-market transactions are not illegal. It is always possible for the parties to enter into transactions even without the help of brokers. Therefore, it is not possible to hold that the transactions reported by the assessee were quite sham on the legal proposition arrived at by the CIT(A) that off-market transactions are not permissible. The assessee has stated that the transactions were made with the help of professional mediators who are experts in off-market transactions.
10.4 When the transactions were off-market transactions, there is no relevance in seeking details of share transactions from Stock Exchanges. Such attempts would be futile. Stock Exchanges cannot give details of transactions entered into between the parties outside their floor. Therefore, the reliance placed by the assessing authority on the communications received from the Stock Exchanges that the particulars of share transactions entered into by the assessee were not available in their records, is out of place. There is no evidential value for such reliance placed by the assessing authority. The assessee had made it very clear that the transactions were not concluded on the floor of the Stock Exchange. The matter being so, there is no probative value for the negative replies solicited by the assessing authority from the respective Stock Exchanges. We are of the considered view that the materials collected by the assessing authority from the Stock Exchanges are not valid to dispel or disbelieve the contentions of the assessee.
10.5 The next set of evidences relied on by the assessing authority are the statements obtained from various parties. When certain persons like Radha Ashok and Sandeep D. Shah made negative statements against the assessee, persons like Satish Mandovara and Mangesh Chokshi had given positive statements in support of the contention of the assessee. But, the assessing authority sought to pick and choose the statements given by various parties. While accepting and rejecting such statements given by the parties, the Assessing Officer has made a mistake of accepting irrelevant statements and rejecting relevant statements. During the relevant period in which the assessee transacted in shares, persons like Radha Ashok and Sandeep D. Shah were not carrying on their business of brokers as in the manner they carried on the business in the past. Even their Stock Exchange Memberships were cancelled. It was Shri Satish Mandovara who was carrying on the business mainly for and on behalf of Shri Mangesh Chokshi, Director of M/s. Richmond Securities Pvt. Ltd. Those two persons have categorically admitted before the assessing authority that they had dealings with the assessee in respect of the share transactions. They have confirmed the transactions stated by the assessee that he had with them. These positive statements made before the assessing authority supported the case of the assessee. There is no force in the action of the assessing authority in relying on the negative statements of the other parties whose role during the relevant period was either irrelevant or insignificant. Therefore, in the facts and circumstances of the case, it is, our considered view that certain statements relied on by the assessing authority do not dilute the probative value of the statements given by other persons in favour of the assessee confirming the share transactions entered into by the assessee.
10.6 The above circumstances have made out a clear case in support of the book entries reflecting the purchase and sale of shares and ultimately supporting the money received on sale of shares and finally investing the same in the purchase of flat. The chain of transactions entered into by the assessee have been properly accounted, documented and supported by evidences.
10.7 Therefore, we find that the explanations of the assessee seems to have been rejected by the assessing authority more on the ground of presumption than on factual ground. The presumption is so compelling that comparatively a small amount of investment made by the assessee during the previous year period relevant to the assessment years 1999- 2000 and 2000-01 have grown into a very sizable amount ultimately yielding a fabulous sum of Rs. 1,41,08,484 which was used by the assessee for the purchase of the flat at Colaba. The sequence of the events and ultimate realization of money is quite amazing. That itself is a provocation for the Assessing Officer to jump into a conclusion that the transactions were bogus. But, whatever it may be, an assessment has to be completed on the basis of records and materials available before the assessing authority. Personal knowledge and excitement on events, should not lead the Assessing Officer to a state of affairs where salient evidences are over-looked. In the present case, howsoever unbelievable it might be, every transaction of the assessee has been accounted, documented and supported. Even the evidences collected from the concerned parties have been ultimately turned in favour of the assessee. Therefore, it is, very difficult to brush aside the contentions of the assessee that he had purchased shares and he had sold shares and ultimately he had purchased a flat utilizing the sale proceeds of those shares.
10.8 For a moment, even if all the above evidences are ignored, one cannot overlook the pressure of the evidence coming out of the survey carried out by the department in the business premises of the assessee. There was a survey carried out by the department in the business premises of the assessee. In the course of survey, contract notes for sale of shares, copies of bills thereof, photocopies of share certificates etc., were found. The purchase and sale of shares were also found recorded in the books of account. The department has no case that the survey was a staged enactment. A survey is always unexpected. So, it is not possible to presume that the assessee had collected certain fabricated documents and kept at his business premises so as to hoodwink the survey party to lead them to believe that the assessee had entered into share transactions. Atleast such an inference is not possible in law. The department has no defence against the forcible argument of the learned counsel that the survey conducted by the department has out and out upheld the contention of the assessee that he had purchased and sold shares. We find that this solitary evidence collected in the course of survey is sufficient to endorse the bona fides of the share transactions made by the assessee.
10.9 Therefore, in short on the basis of the internal evidences available with the assessee and the fact that the sale proceeds were collected through bank accounts and coupled with the external evidence of survey and statement of parties, we have to hold that the sale proceeds of Rs. 1,41,08,484 has been explained. Therefore, the said addition is deleted.
11. As we have held that the sum of Rs. 1,41,08,484 has been explained by the assessee, the assessee is entitled for the benefit of section 54E against the purchase of flat at Colaba, in accordance with law. The assessing authority is, therefore, directed to grant the benefit of section 54E to the assessee.