1. The assessee herein is engaged in booking railway parcels/luggage booking business specially for Delhi-Ahmedabad route. In a search operation conducted on 3rd March, 2004, cash, silver and gold jewellery were found in the luggage/parcels booked with the assessee by the Police. Police reported that matter to the Income-tax Department as well on the basis of which the proceedings under Section 153A of the Income-tax Act were initiated against the assessee in respect of assessment year 2004-05. Keeping in view the value of the aforesaid goods seized which aggregated to Rs. 1,65,23,783, income was assessed at that amount and Income-tax/penalty in the sum of Rs. 61,44,777 was demanded from him. It may be pointed out at this stage that during the assessment proceedings, the assessee had given names and particulars of 14 parties who had made the bookings of the aforesaid articles/goods with him. These 14 parties were duly identified. When they were sent summons by the Assessing Officer, they appeared before the Assessing Officer pursuant to these summons and owned the responsibility, namely, they specifically admitted that they had booked the aforesaid goods with the assessee as only a booking clerk. At the same time, they also claimed that they were only Angarias (couriers) and the aforesaid goods belonged to some other person. Taking into consideration all these aspects, the CIT(A) allowed the appeal of the assessee and quashed the demand of Income-tax and penalty on the ground that the assessee was not the owner of the aforesaid articles which he had duly explained by producing the aforesaid 14 parties. ITAT has affirmed this order of the CIT(A). It would be apposite to reproduce the contents in the order of the ITAT which reflects the entire facts:
9. We have heard ld. DR and perused the material available on record. From the facts recorded as above, we find that assessee at the relevant time was engaged as a booking agent at Railway Station. The Police intercepted certain parcels. The parcels were containing cash, jewellery, silver, gold, gold jewellery. 14 angaria companies booked these parcels. These angaria companies during the course of assessment proceeding have owned up the assets but (ailed to divulge or disclose the names of real owners of the parcels. Under these circumstances, the Assessing Officer treated the assets under Section 132(4) belonging to the assessee. From the above facts it is clear that assessee was merely a booking agent for Delhi-Ahmedabad route on behalf of angarias. Angarias are the persons who take responsibility for conveying of parcels on behalf of owners. The role of assessee was merely to book their parcels for onward transmission from Delhi to Ahmedabad. Under Section 132(4A) where any books of account, other documents, money, bullion jewellery and other valuable articles or things are or is found in possession or control of any person in the course of a search, it may be presumed that such books of account, other documents, money, bullion, jewellery or other valuable article or thing belong or belongs to such person. The presumption under Section 132(4A) is a rebuttable presumption, which can be rebutted by adducing sufficient and necessary evidence. The assessee had given the names of 14 parties i.e., angarias who had booked the parcels with him for onward transmission. 14 angarias had also admitted to have booked the parcels with the assessee. The moment those parcels were admitted to have been booked by 14 angarias, the assessee had discharged onus that those parcels did not belong to him but belonged to angarias. However, Assessing Officer had ignored evidence that came in his possession during the course of assessment. In our considered view, the assessee had discharged onus of rebutting the presumption drawn against him under Section 132(4A). Accordingly, no addition could have been made in the hands of the assessee. In fact, the moment the ownership was claimed by the angarias, the assessment should have been made in the hands of those angarias if they had failed to disclose the names of the real owners and not in the hands of the assessee who was mere a booking agent for parcels brought by them. The contention was raised by revenue that the assessee was not supposed to take the items for onward transmission, as the same was not permitted under the law. Committing an offence under any other law cannot be a basis for making additions in the hands of the assessee. Accordingly, we do not find any infirmity in the order passed by the ld. CIT(A) in deleting the addition.
2. In these circumstances, we are of the opinion that no substantial question of law arises once the assessee has furnished, specifically, particulars of the 14 Angarias who have owned up the goods and have confirmed the stand taken by the assessee, namely, that the booked goods belongs to these persons and they had booked the same with the assessee. It is clear that the assessee only acted as a booking agent and the goods in question did not belong to him. In these circumstances, we are of the opinion that action, if at all, should have been taken against those 14 Angarias and if the Angarias are not able to give the particulars of the real owners, they can be treated as owners of goods and fastened with the liability if any. Without stating much, in this behalf, insofar as the assessee herein is concerned, undoubtedly he is not responsible for the aforesaid seized goods and therefore, the value of those goods could not have been taxed at his hands.
3. This appeal is accordingly dismissed.