Election Commissioner Ashok Lavasa's wife comes under I-T scanner over 'tax evasion’

Election Commissioner Ashok Lavasa's wife Novel Singhal Lavasa has come under the scanner of the Income Tax Department on charges of alleged tax evasion.

According to Hindustan Times, the notices seek explanations from Novel Singhal Lavasa about her income-related details when she was the director of about a dozen private companies between 2015 and 2017. Lavasa's wife has been issued a notice by the department to explain certain details in her I-T Returns (ITR) with regard to holding directorship in about 10 companies.

Reacting to the I-T department’s move, Novel Singhal Lavasa told the Hindustan Times, said she responded to all notices received since August 5 and was cooperating with the department. “It is stated that I have paid all taxes due towards me and disclosed all income earned by me from pension, and all other sources as per Income Tax law,” she said in a statement. “It is clarified that having served as a Class I officer with the State Bank of India for 28 years and having acquired vast experience in Banking and Development, I continue to be engaged in various professional activities, including as independent director in a few companies,” she added.

The department is looking at the ITRs of Novel Singhal Lavasa to ascertain if her income has escaped assessment in the past or something has been concealed from tax authorities. The probe into alleged tax evasion and holding of directorship in multiple firms against the former banker pertains to a time period between 2015 and 2017.

Ashok Lavasa was appointed election commissioner on January 23, 2018, after he retired as the Union Finance Secretary the previous year. His difference of opinion, with regard to the implementation of the model code of conduct (MCC), with Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora and Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra was reported during the recently-concluded parliamentary election.

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