SC to examine I-T appeal against PC's family

Congress leader P Chidambaram. PTI file photo

The Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to examine an appeal filed by the Income Tax department against the Madras High Court order that quashed criminal prosecution against senior Congress leader P Chidambaram's family members under the black money law.

The top court, however, refused to stay the high court's order dated November 2, 2018.

A bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Sanjiv Khanna issued a notice to Chidambaram's wife Nalini and their son Karti, who is contesting the Lok Sabha election from Sivaganga constituency in Tamil Nadu. The bench also sought a reply from Karti's wife Srinidhi and others in the case.

The high court had quashed criminal prosecution initiated by the I-T department under the Black Money Act against the three.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the I-T department, sought a stay on the high court order on various grounds, including that it can be used by other accused to avoid criminal prosecution in cases related to black money.

To this, the bench said that granting a stay at this stage without hearing the other side would amount to allowing the appeal of the I-T department.

The solicitor general further said that if the stay is not granted, then other high courts may quash criminal prosecution against similarly placed accused under the black money law and urged that the November order of the high court should not be treated as a precedent.

The bench declined this request as the high court would be cognizant of the fact that the apex court is seized of the matter and is scrutinising its order.

The issue relates to alleged non-disclosure of overseas assets and bank accounts held by the trio — Nalini, Karti and Srinidhi.

According to the I-T Department, the three had not disclosed a property they jointly owned in Cambridge in the UK worth Rs 5.37 crore in their returns which amounted to offence under the Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) Act and Imposition of Tax Act.

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SC to examine I-T appeal against PC's family

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