The family of former finance minister P Chidambaram on Saturday said the Income Tax Department (ITD) charge sheets against them under the black money law were "baseless allegations" as the overseas investments under question were duly reflected in their IT returns.
The chartered accountant for the senior Congress leaders' wife Nalini and the one for his son Karti Chidambaram, daughter-in-law Srindhi and a firm Chess Global Advisory Services Private Limited issued two separate but identical replies in response to the tax department's action.
"The Income Tax returns are prepared and filed on the advice of the chartered accountants. The investments in question were made through bank remittances. They were duly disclosed in the returns of income filed under Section 139 of the Income Tax Act for the relevant assessment year.
"It is totally wrong to allege there was a wilful failure to disclose the investments. The returns of income are a complete answer to the baseless allegation," the two statements issued said.
The statements added that the ITD prosecution complaints, filed yesterday before a court in Chennai, would be "opposed in accordance with law."
Four criminal complaints were filed by the department before a special court in Chennai under Section 50 of the Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act, 2015.
Nalini Chidambaram, Karti and Srinidhi and a firm linked to Karti (Chess Global) have been charged for allegedly not disclosing, either partly or fully, immovable assets like the one at Barton, Cambridge in the UK worth Rs 5.37 crore, property worth Rs 80 lakh in the same country and assets worth Rs 3.28 crore in the US, ITD officials had said.
The charge sheets claimed that the Chidambarams as also the firm in which Karti is one of the directors-- Chess Global Advisory-- "did not disclose" these investments to the tax authority in violation of the black money law.
The Chidambarams and the firm, on April 27, had sent four separate replies to the specified Income Tax Department authority in Chennai stating that they had not defaulted in disclosing these assets to the taxman, and in certain cases they had revised their Income Tax returns to reflect the said overseas properties.
The case pertains to the assessment year 2016-17. The charge sheets were expected to be taken up by the court on June 11.
Officials had said the charge sheet had been filed as the investigation of the case had reached its "logical conclusion" and thus it could be presented before the court.
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 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% tax and penalty on undisclosed foreign assets and income, besides carrying a jail term of up to 7 years.