Chidambarams charge-sheeted for undiclosed foreign assets

Defence Minister of India Nirmala Sitharaman held a press conference today putting allegations of undisclosed foreign assets of former union minster P Chidambaram. The Income Tax department has filed chargesheets against him, his wife Nalini, son Karti and daughter-in-law Srinidhi under the Black Money Act. She urged Congress President Rahul Gandhi to come out and clarify the issue which he has been raising in the past.

She further informed that the amnesty scheme was brought in 2015 with September 30 as the deadline for disclosure of illegal assets. She alleged that Chidambarams have some 21 foreign bank accounts in many countries. Since the assets were not disclosed partly or fully and this can’t be a case of oversight by a former minister hence IT department will move forward in the investigation. She pointed out that such disclosure was not made either in 2009 or in 2016 affidavit.

On Friday, the Income Tax department had filed four charge-sheets against the Chidambarams for non-disclosure of assets held in foreign countries. The charge-sheets have been filed in a special court at Chennai under section 50 of the Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act, 2015. The IT officials informed that the charge-sheet has been filed as the case has reached its “logical conclusion”

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Section 50 IT Act 2015 (Source : www.incometaxindia.gov.in )

She told the media that the Chidambarams have been charged for allegedly not disclosing immovable foreign assets such as one at Cambridge in UK worth Rs 5.37 crore, another property worth Rs 80 lakh in the same country and some assets worth Rs 3.28 crore in the US.

BJP President Amit Shah gave a tweet stating that the four charge-sheets have been filed for the assets amounting to USD 3 billion.

The Black Money Act was enacted by the Modi government in its push to trace and bring illegal financial assets stashed abroad. The law carries a tax of 120 percent, penalty on undisclosed foreign assets and a jail term of upto seven years. Previously, such issues were dealt under Income Tax Act, 1961. The department had issued notices to Karti Chidambaram but he had challenged those on the grounds that he has already submitted the details to another tax authority and that “parallel proceedings” can’t be done against an individual under the same law. The High Court had dismissed his petition.

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