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HC declines interim stay on transfer of income tax case against Karti Chidambaram to special court

The judge, however, declined to grant the prayer and adjourned the matter to August 30 for filing of counter by the high court registrar general.

PTI|
Aug 21, 2019, 09.19 PM IST
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BCCL
karti Chidambaram
The matter relates to the alleged non-disclosure of Rs 1.35 crore received by the petitioners in cash for sale of lands in Muttukadu near here.
CHENNAI: The Madras High Court on Wednesday refused the plea of Congress MP Karti Chidambaram and his wife for interim stay on the transfer of an income tax case against them from an economic offences court to a special court trying criminal cases against lawmakers.

When the matter came up for hearing before Justice P D Audikesavalu, counsel for Karti, the son of former union minister P Chidambaram, sought an interim stay on the transfer of the case.

Karti, in his petition, has submitted that it was erroneous to transfer the case to the special court trying criminal cases related to MPs and MLAs as he was not a lawmaker at the time of the alleged offence in 2015.

The judge, however, declined to grant the prayer and adjourned the matter to August 30 for filing of counter by the high court registrar general.

On August 19, the court had adjourned the matter to Wednesday to seek clarification from the high court registrar general on transfer of the cases.

According to the petitioners, they are being prosecuted for offences under section 276C of the Income Tax Act and punishment for the said offence, if proved, is imprisonment of seven years.

They submitted it must be tried by an Assistant Sessions Judge (senior civil judge cadre), "that is by chief metropolitan magistrate...the transfer of the case to special court judge in the cadre of sessions judge is erroneous in law."

They sought a direction from the court to return the case records to the additional chief metropolitan magistrate Court II, economic offences, Egmore, and also sought interim stay on the case before the special court against them.

The matter relates to the alleged non-disclosure of Rs 1.35 crore received by the petitioners in cash for sale of lands in Muttukadu near here.

They submitted that the transaction was completed and returns of income were filed in 2015 itself, dates on which the petitioner was not a member of Parliament and he was declared elected as an MP only on May 24 this year.

The Deputy Director of Income Tax Investigation, Chennai had filed a complaint on September 12 last year against the petitioners before the ACMM (Economic Offences) for alleged offences under the Income Tax Act and summons were issued on various dates and the case is at the trial stage.

It was recently transferred to the special court for criminal cases against MPs and MLAs based on a circular issued by the Registrar General.

Such special courts were established on the directions of the Supreme Court to all states.

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