November 2, 2018
Chennai : Relief for the Chidambaram family came on Friday after the Madras High Court quashed an Income Tax order against the family members in a black money case.
A division bench of the Madras High Court ruled that no case was made out against the family members of Chidambaram — his wife Nalini, son Karti and daughter -in-law Srinidhi and quashed all criminal proceedings against them.
These three persons had filed writ petitions challenging criminal prosecution launched by the IT department. During the last hearing on October 12, the court had extended the interim order that dispensed with personal appearance of the trio before a special court till Friday in a case of non-disclosure of foreign assets filed against them by the IT officials.
The issue pertains to alleged non-disclosure of overseas assets and bank accounts held by the three family members of the former union finance minister. The IT department had maintained that the three persons had failed to disclose property they jointly own in Cambridge in the UK, worth Rs 5.37 crore. This the IT department held was an offence under the Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act.
According to the department, Karti Chidambaram had also failed to disclose an overseas bank account he holds with Metro Bank in the UK and investments he had made in Nano Holdings LLC, USA.
Similar failure was also alleged in the case of investments made by Chess Global Advisory, a company co-owned by him, which amounts to an offence under the Black Money Act, the department said in its complaint filed in the special court in May.
Assailing the prosecution, the three had approached the high court. As a single judge bench refused any relief, they moved an appeal.
On June 27, the first bench headed by then Chief Justice Indira Bannerjee reserved its order on the appeal. However, as Justice Banerjee was later elevated to the Supreme Court, orders could not be pronounced. The appeal was then referred to the bench headed by Justice Manikumar for fresh hearing.
During the hearing by Justice Banerjee, counsel for the appellants had contended that prima facie no offence can be made out against them under the Black Money Act.