Karti seeks interim stay on case before special court

Karti Chidambaram said he was not a lawmaker at the time of the alleged offence in 2015. (PTI Photo)

Congress MP Karti Chidambaram and his wife on Monday approached the Madras High Court terming as "erroneous" transfer of a case against them from an Economic offences court to a special one trying criminal cases related to MPs and MLAs.

Karti Chidambaram said he was not a lawmaker at the time of the alleged offence in 2015.

The petitioners also sought an interim stay on the case against them before the special court.

According to the petitioners, they are being prosecuted for offences under section 276C of the Income Tax Act and punishment for the said offence, if proved, is imprisonment of seven years.

The petitioners submitted it must be tried by an Assistant Sessions Judge (senior civil judge cadre), "that is by chief metropolitan magistrate.. the transfer of the case to Special Court Judge in the cadre of sessions judge is erroneous in law."

They sought a direction from the court to return the case records to the additional chief metropolitan magistrate Court II, economic offences, Egmore, and also sought interim stay on the case before the special court against them.

Justice PD Audikesavalu adjourned the matter to August 21 to seek clarification from the high court registrar general on transfer of cases from the additional chief metropolitan magistrate (ACMM), Economic Offences Court, to the Special Court.

The matter relates to the alleged non-disclosure of Rs 1.35 crore received by the petitioners in cash for sale of lands in Muthukadu.

They submitted that the transaction was completed and returns of income were filed in 2015 itself, dates on which the petitioner was not a member of Parliament and he was declared elected as an MP only on May 24 this year.

The Deputy Director of Income Tax Investigation, Chennai had filed a complaint on September 12 last year against the petitioners before the ACMM (Economic Offences) for alleged offences under the Income Tax Act and summons were issued on various dates and the case is at the trial stage.

It was recently transferred to the special court for criminal cases against MPs and MLAs based on a circular issued by the Registrar General.

Establishment of such special courts was based on the directions of the Supreme Court to all states.

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