Sonia refuses to disclose income tax returns

INDIA’S Congress chief Sonia Gandhi has declined to disclose details of her income tax returns under the RTI Act, citing personal freedom and security risk.

In her reply to the Income Tax (I-T) department, she said there was no public interest involved in disclosing such information, reports Indian daily The Times of India.


Chennai-based RTI activist V Gopalakrishnan had sought details of her I-T returns from the year 2000-2001 to 2010-2011.


On January 23, the assistant commissioner of income tax, New Delhi, who is also the chief public information officer (CPIO), wrote to the UPA chairperson as per Section 11 of the RTI Act, 2005, seeking her response to the application.


In her reply, Sonia said disclosure of such private information to third parties in guise of transparency in public life would amount to unwarranted invasion of the individual’s privacy.


The information submitted to the I-T department by an individual was confidential and private in nature and cannot be disclosed as per Section 138 of the Income Tax Act, 1961, the Indian daily quoted Sonia as saying.


This is the second time that the CPIO has rejected the petition.


The application was first rejected without even seeking objection from Sonia. After the appellate authority’s intervention last month on Gopalakrishnan’s plea, the CPIO sought a response from Sonia.


“By not calling for an objection, the CPIO has ignored the possibility of the third party expressing willingness for disclosure of personal I-T information,” the authority had said.


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