Karti Chidambaram gets anticipatory bail in Black Money case

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In a late-night hearing, the Madras High Court granted anticipatory bail to Karti Chidambaram, son of former Union Minister P Chidambaram in connection with the warrant issued against him by the Income Tax department under the Black Money Act for allegedly not disclosing foreign assets.

The court on Saturday also directed the I-T department to keep in abeyance the warrant issued against him until he returned from his trip abroad.

Karti Chidambaram gave a written undertaking to appear before the concerned IT official on June 28.

Apprehending arrest following the issuance of a warrant, Karti Chidambaram's counsels, A R L Sundaresh and Satish Parasaran, knocked on the doors of the official residence of Chief Justice Indira Banerjee late last night.

However, they were instructed to approach the concerned portfolio judge with the anticipatory bail petition.

On being informed that a bail application has been filed before Justice A D Jagadeesh Chandra, the IT department's counsel AP Srinivas appeared at the judge's residence along with an IT official.

During the midnight hearing at the judge's residence, the I-T department said three summons had already been issued to Karti Chidambaram directing him to personally appear before it to record his statement in connection with the probe into alleged non-disclosure of assets abroad.

Since he did not do so, a warrant was issued by the department under Section 8(1) of the Black Money Act, the council said.

The warrant was served by the city police to secure his presence and to appear before the concerned IT official.

Hence, Karti Chidambaram moved the High Court at around midnight seeking anticipatory bail.

A copy of the bail plea was served to the counsel for the I-T department, as well as the official who accompanied him.

The counsel for I-T dept then submitted that Karti had already got permission from the Supreme Court on May 18, 2018, to travel abroad.

He had already filed an affidavit before the Apex Court stating that he would like to go abroad on Sunday.

Referring to the top court order, Karti Chidambaram submitted that he had already made arrangements to go abroad with his wife and daughter, but that the warrant was issued by the I-T department in the meantime.

 To this, the I-T department submitted that the warrant was issued as he has not appeared pursuant to the summons issued.

The department said it would keep the warrant in abeyance if Karti Chidambaram gave an undertaking to appear before the official concerned on his return on the stipulated date.

Accordingly, Karti Chidambaram gave a written undertaking that he would appear before the official on June 28.

Recording it, the judge directed the I-T department to keep the warrant in abeyance and ordered it to inform the police station concerned of the same and closed the petition.

The income tax department had slapped the Black Money Act on Karti last year after it found that assets created by him abroad were in alleged violation of the law.

The new anti-black money law deals with cases of overseas illegal assets, which till recently were probed under the Income Tax Act, 1961.

The new legislation has provisions for a steep 120 per cent tax and penalty on undisclosed foreign assets and income, besides carrying a jail term of up to 10 years.

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