The income tax department has filed a chargesheet against Punjab Congress chief captain Amarinder Singh in connection with its probe against him and his son in a case of alleged untaxed foreign assets.
Official sources said the department filed the prosecution complaint (equivalent to a police chargesheet) in a competent court in Ludhiana in Punjab on Thursday and the former chief minister has been charged under section 277 of the I-T Act (false statement in verification) and IPC sections 176 (omission to give notice or information to public servant by person legally bound to give it), 177 (furnishing false information), 193 (punishment for false evidence) and 199 (false statement made in declaration which is by law receivable as evidence).
Amarinder took to Twitter to accuse finance minister Arun Jaitley of complicity. “I challenged Arun Jaitley to fight by-elections in Amritsar and this is how he responds. So predictable!,” he tweeted.
According to the complaint, a copy of which was accessed by PTI, the I-T department said during its investigations Amarinder was “found to be the beneficiary” of a trust and other properties owned and created by his son Raninder in a foreign territory and when questioned about these, Amarinder gave a “false statement on oath” about the ownership of these assets.
It said Amarinder was “actively involved” in the creation of these trusts and foreign properties which were not disclosed to the department for tax purposes.
The department has already filed a similar complaint against Raninder and has charged him under section 276C of the I-T Act in the case (wilful attempt to evade tax) and the same charges would now apply on the father.
The case came to light when the department received information about Raninder allegedly holding the offshore account in Switzerland as part of details received by the Central Board of Direct Taxes from its French counterparts in 2011. The department had also detected movement of funds to Switzerland and creation of a trust and a few subsidiaries in the tax haven of British Virgin Islands allegedly by Raninder.
Both Amarinder and Raninder have denied any wrongdoing and termed as “false” the charges.
Based on the earlier I-T department chargesheet, the Enforcement Directorate too had registered a case against Raninder under the provisions of the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) sometime back and has also questioned him.
Jaitley had lost the Amritsar Lok Sabha seat in 2014 to Amarinder. Only on Thursday, Amarinder had dared Jaitley to contest the Amritsar bypoll again, saying let it be a referendum on the Narendra Modi government’s demonetisation move.