Chennai: In a significant relief for former Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram’s son, Karti, the Madras High Court on Friday discharged him and his wife Srinidhi from prosecution in a case initiated by the Income Tax Department.
Justice N Satish Kumar discharged the couple on the grounds that the prosecution was not maintainable in law since it was launched by an “incompetent official”.
Karti is now a Lok Sabha MP from Sivaganga constituency, a seat held by his father seven times since 1984, having represented the Congress and the Tamil Maanila Congress (Moopanar – 1996, 1998).
The case relates to an alleged evasion of capital gains tax initiated by the Assessing Officer of the Income Tax Department. The judge, who allowed a criminal revision petition to be filed by the accused, held that the case should have been launched by an official of the rank of Deputy Director of Income Tax Department.
Karti and his wife were represented in the case by a battery of senior and well known lawyers, including former Union Minister Kapil Sibal, P S Raman and N R Elango. The couple had moved the petition after the Special Court on cases against MPs and MLAs had declined to discharge them.
The Income Tax Department had contended that Karti, who sold land at the scenic Muttukadu on East Coast Road near Chennai for Rs 21.71 crore, had not revealed a cash component of Rs 6.38 crore in his tax returns for 2014-15. His wife had similarly not disclosed Rs 1.36 crore cash component in another land transaction for 2015-16.
Passing orders, the judge said that the case was launched purely on the basis of an adverse opinion formed by the Deputy Director of Income Tax.