The Income Tax Department has filed four prosecution cases against former Finance Minister P Chidambaram's son Karti, wife Nalini, and daughter-in-law Srinidhi, under the tight Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) Act for allegedly failing to disclose properties and investments in the UK and the US estimated to be worth £9,45,000. The tax department listed investments made by the senior Congressman’s family members in acquiring a property in Cambridge worth approximately £5,37,000, apart from two investments made by Karti's Chess Global Advisory Pvt Ltd in the US and the UK estimated to be worth over £4,00,000.
Other than the acquisition, Karti allegedly invested over £3,28,000 in a company in the US through Chess Global, which the tax department claims is associated with him. He also allegedly made another investment of Rs 80,00,000 in a company in the UK. A source in the IT department said Karti, his mother, and his wife had failed to disclose these assets and investments in their income tax returns despite the fact that they were earlier given an opportunity through the one-time amnesty scheme to disclose all their foreign assets. The family was treated as wilful defaulters for not disclosing their foreign assets, a ground to face prosecution under the Black Money Act.
If convicted, the act provides for “rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than six months, but which may extend to seven years and with fine.” Karti's chartered accountant responded to the cases, saying his client had “not defaulted” in disclosing foreign assets in the income tax returns for assessment year 2016-17. His wife and mother too filed identical responses and said the disclosures were made in the revised returns filed by them.
Srinidhi said, “Omission, if any, in the original returns under Section 139(1) was corrected in the revised returns under Section 139(5) of the IT Act. The original returns and the revised returns were filed on the advice of her chartered accountant.” The family has demanded that the case be dropped, arguing that “it would be totally unreasonable and perverse to conclude there has been any wilful failure to disclose any information about the foreign asset.”