Madras HC refuses to stay prosecution launched by I-T Dept. against Chidambaram’s kin

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CHENNAI, MAY 30,
The Madras High Court on Wednesday refused to stay prosecution launched by the Income Tax Department against former Union Minister P. Chidambaram’s wife Nalini Chidambaram, son Karti P. Chidambaram and daughter-in-law Srinidhi Karti Chidambaram under the Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act of 2015.
Justice S. Baskaran rejected the plea for interim orders and simply adjourned the cases, filed by the family to quash the prosecution, to July 5 after ordering notice to I-T officials.
The petitioners contended in their affidavits that the Principal Director of Income Tax (Investigation) was not a competent officer to launch prosecution under Section 50 of the Act and, therefore, the complaint filed against them should be quashed. They also claimed that the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (CMM) court in Egmore, Chennai, was not the designated special court under the Act.
“If any proceedings are initiated by the CMM based on the persecution complaint filed by the second respondent [Principal Director], who is incompetent to file the complaint, it will cause prejudice to the respondents.
The petitioner does not have any undisclosed foreign asset and hence does not come within the purview of the Black Money Act,” the petitioners said in their identical affidavits.
The family initially approached the High Court to restrain I-T officials from launching prosecution against them under the Act with respect to a property purchased by them jointly at a cost of £5.35 lakh at Cambridge in the United Kingdom. However, Justice T.S. Sivagnanam dismissed their plea in April last. It was only thereafter, I-T officials went ahead and launched prosecution.

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