Justice M Sundar of the Madras High Court on Tuesday stayed till Jan 27 a special court order to frame charges against Congress member of Parliament Karti Chidambaram and his wife Srinidhi in a case filed by the IT department over alleged non-disclosure of Rs 7.5 crore income from sale of a land in Muttakadu near Chennai .
Admitting a petition filed by the two, the court granted interim stay as the trial court hearing cases against MLAs and MPs had fixed Tuesday for framing charges against them after holding that the prosecution had provided prima facie evidence about tax evasion during the 2015 fiscal.
Karti contended that special court set up to hear cases against MLAs and MPs cannot try him as he was not an MP during the relevant period. Therefore, he pleaded that the case be transferred to economic offences court in Egmore, Chennai for trial.
Granting interim stay, Justice Sundar posted further hearing to Jan 28.
Karti moved the high court after the trial court dismissed his plea to discharge him and his wife from the case on the ground that they had already disclosed the income they got from the sale of the land in their income tax returns for the relevant year.
The prosecutor for the IT department had contended that Karti and Srinidhi had contended that they did not get any money from the sale of land and had shown it as a gift whereas Karti’s mother and P Chidambaram’s wife Nalini Chidambaram had shown the transaction in her IT returns as she had got payment by cheque.
They also cited hard disks and other electronic evidence seized from a consultancy firm of Karti Chidambaram to show that they got payment for the land deal.
The case is that Karti had received Rs 6.38 crore in cash and his wife Rs 1.35 crore in cash in that financial year. It came to light when income-tax officials conducted inquiries with employees of Agni Estates Foundation, the firm which purchased land.