‘Sitharaman New I-T Lawyer’, Chidambaram Hits Back at Defence Minister Over Black Money Charge

New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party on Sunday accused former Finance Minister P Chidamabaram of holding assets to the tune of $3 billion in illegal foreign bank accounts and with income tax authorities filing chargesheet against the veteran Congress leader’s family, the BJP likened it to the Nawaz Sharif moment for the Congress.

Chidambaram took to Twitter to rubbish charges against him and said the BJP is “dreaming of billions”.

“The president of the richest political party in India is dreaming of billions of dollars! Bring the money back and put Rs 15 lakhs in the account of every Indian as you promised,” said Chidambaram.

Nirmala Sitharaman led the charge against Chidambaram and in a press conference narrated how the income tax department has traced the black money amassed by Chidambaram’s family and hidden in offshore accounts.

“The I-T department filed chargesheets in a Chennai city court on 11th May, 2018 against Chidambaram’s wife Nalini, son Karti and his wife Srinidhi under section 50 of the Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act, 2015,” said Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

As Sitharaman read out the charges against Chidambaram, the latter in a sarcastic Twitter jibe said she should be appointed as “lawyer of the income tax department”.

“The buzz in Delhi is that Ms Nirmala Sitaraman will be removed as Defence Minister and appointed as lawyer of the Income-tax department. Welcome to the bar, Ms Sitaraman,” said Chidambaram.

Sitharaman alleged, Chidambaram didn’t disclose his investments to tax authorities, violating black money law, which was brought by Modi government as part of its drive against black money and to prosecute those Indians who have secretly stashed illicit wealth abroad.

“For sometime now we have been hearing a lot of action by the I-T authorities against former Finance Minister P Chidambaram and his family. In India, for the Congress Party this is the Nawaz Sharif moment,” said Sitharaman.

In July 2017, Pakistan Supreme Court disqualified former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif from holding public office over corruption charges brought to fore by the Panama Papers case.

“The present chargesheets are for not disclosing, either partly or fully, immovable assets like the one at 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,” informed Sitharaman.

Sitharaman wanted to know if Rahul Gandhi would investigate this as he has been highlighting corruption charges against BJP leaders. Sitharaman asked how Chidambaram failed to to disclose his assets abroad.

BJP president Amit Shah too joined in the debate and said this could be the rationale behind Congress dragging its feet over the formation of SIT, which was to unearth black money.

“This explains why despite Supreme Court’s orders Sonia Gandhi, former PM Dr Manmohan Singh and then FM P Chidambaram dragged their feet on formation of SIT, one of the first decisions taken by Modi government, to fight Black Money! How could they indict their own selves,” said Shah.

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