Foreign assets of Chidambaram's family: Congress hits back at Nirmala Sitharaman

The I-T department on May 11, 2018, filed chargesheets against Chidambaram's wife Nalini, son Karti, daughter-in-law Srinidhi and a firm under the Black Money Act.

Foreign assets of Chidambaram's family: Congress hits back at Nirmala Sitharaman
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New Delhi: The Congress on Sunday hit back at Union Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, saying that instead of protecting the country, she was coming in defence of her party leaders embroiled in corruption charges. The Congress' attack came after the BJP leader hit out at former union minister and senior Congress leader P Chidambaram over his family's foreign assets.

"Sitharaman has been made the defence minister of the country and has been entrusted with the task of protecting the country. Instead of that, she is protecting the corrupt in her party," Congress leader Pawan Khera said at a press conference.

He also accused the BJP leadership and ministers in the NDA government of deflecting issues and not giving answers to questions raised by the Opposition leaders and said that Sitharaman was not disclosing the price of the Rafale fighter jet aircraft, PTI reported.

To a question on charges against Chidambaram's family, Khera said the statement given by Chidambaram's chartered accountant is clear that there was no wrongdoing and that the income tax department's action would be challenged in the court of law. He accused the BJP of misusing the I-T department and targeting the Opposition leaders.

The I-T department on May 11, 2018, filed chargesheets against Chidambaram's wife Nalini, son Karti, daughter-in-law Srinidhi and a firm under the Black Money Act for allegedly not disclosing their foreign assets.

The chargesheets or prosecution complaints have been filed by the I-T department before a special court in Chennai under Section 50 of the Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act, 2015, officials said, as per PTI.

Nalini, Karti and Srinidhi and a firm linked to Karti have been accused of not disclosing, either partly or fully, immovable assets such as one at Barton, Cambridge, 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.

Addressing the press in the national capital, Sitharaman had said, "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."

She had also asked if Rahul Gandhi would investigate the issue involving his party's senior leader. The Congress party president, incidentally who is also out on bail on some financial transactions which are questionable, should certainly comment and tell the entire party and people of India whether he is going to investigate this, Sitharaman had said. She had added that the law on black money was brought in by the Modi government because it had pledged before the last Lok Sabha elections to fight unaccounted for money held in India and abroad.

On the other hand, BJP president Amit Shah too cited the chargesheets filed by the I-T department against Chidambaram's family members to allege they had illegal assets worth 3 billion dollars.

The former finance minister's family members have said the I-T department chargesheets against them under the black money law were "baseless allegations" as the overseas investments under question had been reflected in their I-T returns. 

(With Agency inputs)