Congress' Nawaz Sharif moment: Union Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on chargesheets against Chidambaram's family by I-T department

The family of former finance minister P Chidambaram has said the Income Tax department chargesheets against them under the black money law were 'baseless allegations'.

Congress' Nawaz Sharif moment: Union Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on chargesheets against Chidambaram's family by I-T department
Pic courtesy: @BJP4India

New Delhi: Launching an all-out attack, Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Sunday that the chargesheets against P Chidambaram's wife Nalini, son Karti, daughter-in-law Srinidhi and a firm by the Income Tax department under the Black Money Act for allegedly not disclosing their foreign assets, was a Nawaz Sharif moment of the Congress party.

Addressing the press, the BJP leader said, "For some time now we have been hearing a lot of action by the I-T authorities against former finance minister P Chidambaram and his family. The parallels cannot be missed out in this case. I am wondering if, for Congress party in India, we are seeing the Nawaz Sharif moment", a reference to Pakistan Supreme Court's decision disqualifying its former PM from holding office because of non-disclosure of assets and income earned abroad.

"Will Rahul Gandhi investigate this? It can't be an oversight. How can P Chidambaram forget to disclose his assets abroad? Congress chief, who is himself out on bail should come out and tell us if he is going to investigate this case involving one of his leaders," Sitharaman added.

She further said, "Chidambaram didn't disclose its investments to the tax authority, violating Black Money Law, which was brought by Modi government as part of its drive against black money and to prosecute those Indians who have secretly stashed illicit wealth abroad. P Chidambaram’s family has been booked under Black Money Act for illegal assets in several countries and for operating illegal foreign bank accounts... As per the Income Tax estimates, Chidambaram family’s illegal assets in 14 countries and 21 foreign bank accounts are expected to be worth three billion dollars."

BJP president Amit Shah also tweeted:

I-T department files chargesheets against Chidambaram's family members under black money law 

The I-T department on May 11, 2018, filed four chargesheets or prosecution complaints before a special court in Chennai under Section 50 of the Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act, 2015. Nalini Chidambaram, Karti and Srinidhi and a firm linked to Karti have been charged for allegedly not disclosing, either partly or fully, immovable assets like the one at Barton, Cambridge in the UK worth Rs 5.37 crore, property worth Rs 80 lakh in the same country and assets worth Rs 3.28 crore in the US, officials were quoted as saying by the PTI.

The chargesheets have claimed that the Chidambarams as also the firm in which Karti is one of the Directors - Chess Global Advisory - "did not disclose" these investments to the tax authority in violation of the black money law. The Chidambarams and the firm, on April 27, had sent four separate replies to the specified I-T department authority in Chennai stating that they had not defaulted in disclosing these assets to the taxman, and in certain cases, they had revised their income tax returns to reflect the said overseas properties.

"Omission, if any, in the original return under section 139(1) was corrected in the revised return under section 139(5) of the I-T Act. The original return and the revised return were filed on the advice of her Chartered Accountant," the reply by Karti's wife Srinidhi had said.

All the four, including the firm, in more or less similar replies, told the department that there was "no failure to disclose any information about the foreign assets, and certainly no willful failure to disclose any information."

"On the facts of the present case, it would be totally unreasonable and perverse to conclude there has been any willful failure to disclose any information about the foreign assets. Hence, the present show cause notice deserves to be dropped," they had added.

The case pertains to the assessment year 2016-17. The chargesheets are expected to be taken up by the court on June 11, 2018.

Black money charge sheets against us baseless allegation, says Chidambaram's family

Meanwhile, the chartered accountant for the senior Congress leaders' wife Nalini and Karti, daughter-in-law Srindhi and a firm Chess Global Advisory Services Private Limited had issued two separate but identical replies on Saturday in response to the tax department's action.

"The Income Tax returns are prepared and filed on the advice of the chartered accountants. The investments in question were made through bank remittances. They were duly disclosed in the returns of income filed under Section 139 of the Income Tax Act for the relevant assessment year. "It is totally wrong to allege there was a wilful failure to disclose the investments. The returns of income are a complete answer to the baseless allegation," the two statements issued had said, as per PTI.

The statements added that the ITD prosecution complaints would be "opposed in accordance with law."

(With Agency inputs)