New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday issued a notice to the Income Tax Department in a tax evasion case of over Rs 7 crore against Congress MP Karti Chidambaram and his wife.
“Issue notice returnable in two weeks. The petitioner may serve a copy of these petitions to the office of the Solicitor General,” a bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan and R Subhash Reddy said on a plea filed by the couple.
In May, the Madras High Court had dismissed a plea by senior Congress leader P Chidambaram’s son Karti and his wife against the transfer of the case from a lower court to a special court for MPs and MLAs.
The High Court had also declined to entertain another plea by the couple to quash the complaint registered by the I-T Department in the case.
The couple has sought exoneration in the case. Karti has also challenged the transfer of the case to a fast-track court for MPs/MLAs.
The matter is connected with the alleged non-disclosure of Rs 6.38 crore income by Karti and Rs 1.35 crore by his wife Srinidhi in 2015.
The High Court had rejected Karti’s argument that he was neither an MP nor MLA as on the date of alleged offence or when the complaints were lodged.
Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Karti, argued before the apex court bench that the prosecution was under Sections 276C and 277 of the Income Tax Act, which are non-cognisable offences, but there wasn’t any designated court when the complaint was filed.
“The law is that if there is no special court on the date of filing of the complaint, which is September 12, 2018 in this case, then the court before which the case is pending will continue to hear the matter,” he added.
Sibal submitted that all findings of the High Court are in favour of his client, but this alleged pick-and-choose method used in this case and sending it to special court is discriminatory.
According to the I-T Department, Karti, who was elected to the Lok Sabha from Sivaganga in Tamil Nadu in the 2019 elections, and his wife did not disclose in their I-T returns the cash received for the sale of a land at Muttukadu.
On September 12, 2018, the I-T Deputy Director at Chennai filed a complaint before the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Court-II (Economic Offences) under Sections 276 c (1) and 277 of the I-T Act. Later, this case was transferred to the special court.