DIPAK CHAKRABORTI, J. -
(1.) ON September 14, 2004, the officials from the Central Section, Commercial Taxes Directorate, including respondent No. 1 (Assistant Commissioner of Commercial Taxes, Central Section) inspected the place of business of the petitioner, namely, Sri Provash Chandra Jain (in short, "Sri P. C. Jain"), partner of M/s. Sanghai Brothers carrying on business from 29, Mullick Street, Kolkata 700 007, Flat Nos. 309 and 310 at Third Floor, North Block at 152/6, Salkia School Road, the place of residence of Sri Chandra Mohan Jain (in short, "Sri C. M. Jain") (petitioner in Case No. RN -608 of 2008) and Sri P. C. Jain (petitioner in Case Nos. RN -609 and 425 of 2008) and godowns at 2A, Kanailal Street, Kolkata 700 007, 2/1A, Chetan Seth Street, Kolkata 700 007, 31, Mullick Bose Ghat Street, Kolkata 700 006 and 29, Mullick Street, Ground Floor, Kolkata 700 007. Such inspections were made on the ground that the respondent -authorities had the information that M/s. Sanghai Brothers, a dealer holding Registration No. RJ/3479 under the West Bengal Sales Tax Act, 1994, (in short, "the 1994 Act") had been evading payment of due taxes, keeping books of accounts and records in places other than declared place of business and storing taxable goods imported into West Bengal in violation of the provisions of section 68 of the 1994 Act. As has already been stated that officials concerned also inspected Flat Nos. 309 and 310 at Third Floor, North Block, 152/6, Salkia Road, Howrah. Various papers and records including some exercise books, approval slips, etc., were seized by the officials concerned therefrom.
(2.) Following such seizure, a notice under section 65 of the 1994 Act bearing No. 3907 dated September 28, 2004 was issued by the Assistant Commissioner of Commercial Taxes, Central Section (in short, "the ACCT/CS") directing Sri R. K. Jain and others, partners of M/s. Sanghai Brothers, to produce various books of accounts and records on October 25, 2004 to explain the records seized on September 14, 2004. On the date fixed for hearing, advocate appearing on behalf of the petitioner (Sri P. C. Jain) prayed for time. On January 19, 2005, Sri P. C. Jain filed an affidavit stating therein that the books of accounts seized on September 14, 2004 did not relate to the business of M/s. Sanghai Brothers and on the contrary, those related to the brokerage business of Sri C. M. Jain, happened to be the brother of Sri P. C. Jain. The contention of the petitioner was not accepted by the authorities concerned on the ground that the seizure receipt had been signed by Sri R. K. Jain as partner whereas the affidavit was sworn in by Sri P. C. Jain.
(3.) SEIZURE of books of accounts and records made from 29, Mullick Street, Kolkata 700 007 and 152/6, Salkia School Road, Howrah, was challenged before this Tribunal in revision Case No. RN -274 of 2007. The matter was disposed of by this Tribunal on September 11, 2007. In that petition, Sri P. C. Jain, a partner of M/s. Sanghai Brothers, prayed for order directing the respondent -authorities (Commercial Tax Officer, Central Section) to return the records and documents seized on September 14, 2004. Whereas the facts were not disputed, the question was raised as to whom the records seized from the residence would be released. Upon consideration of the facts that there was no order of retention beyond September 12, 2006 and that the documents had been seized on September 14, 2004, it was presumed that the examination of the seized records had been completed by that time. The matter was disposed of with the following directions :
(i) The concerned respondents are directed to return the seized original records and documents within one month from today.
(ii) If the concerned respondents want to keep Xerox copies of all or any of those records, they may keep Xerox copies prepared at their cost.
(iii) The petitioner will authenticate those Xerox copies that those are the Xerox copies of the original.;