Taking serious note of a foreign national obtaining a PAN card by claiming to be an Indian citizen and using it to open two bank accounts, the Bombay High Court has summoned three senior Central government officials to appear before it on January 8 to show what action had been taken in the matter.
“This petition shows shocking inaction on the part of relevant departments of the Union of India…What is pointed out by this petition is that the 1st Respondent, who is a foreign national, has obtained a PAN card. Further he has opened accounts with two banks, namely, HSBC Bank and Bombay Mercantile Bank. He has also acquired properties in India,” noted a division bench in a recent order.
Sanjay Punmiya had filed a petition alleging that Faisal Essa Yousuf obtained a PAN card in his name and bank accounts were opened by him.
The HC, on earlier occasions, had asked respondents to hold an inquiry on how the PAN card was issued and take action but no steps were adopted, the bench noted and warned to issue contempt notices against the concerned officers if stern measures were not enforced.
The bench headed by Justice Abhay Oka, in a written order, directed a representative of Foreign Regional Registration Office (FRRO) in Mumbai, a senior officer nominated by Joint Secretary (CPV), Ministry of External Affairs, and a senior officer nominated by Chief Commissioner of Income Tax, Mumbai, to remain present in court on January 8 with the relevant documents to show action taken, pursuant to the order passed by the High Court on earlier occasions.
The bench also ordered that a report about an inquiry made on the issue shall also be submitted before the next date of hearing.
During a previous hearing on September 28 last year, government’s senior counsel had pointed out that visa was been granted to the first respondent which is valid till December 16, 2018.
“Various allegations have been levelled against the first respondent. It is stated that he has obtained a PAN card claiming to be an Indian national…All this calls for a very serious inquiry by the concerned department of the Union of India,” the HC noted in its order.
However, the High Court asked the respondents to remain present on the next date of hearing on January 8.