The Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) Appellate Tribunal has said there is no evidence that the Jor Bagh house in New Delhi, owned by former Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram and his son, Congress MP Karti Chidambaram, was “acquired from proceeds of crime.” This comes as a blow to the Enforcement Directorate’s (ED’s) plans to attach the property.
The ED had, on August 1, 2019, issued a notice to Karti asking him to vacate the Jor Bagh house in 10 days. The house was attached by the agency on October 10, 2018, claiming that it was “acquired from proceeds of crime” involving the INX media case. The attachment order was confirmed by the PMLA adjudicating authority this March.
The PMLA Appellate Tribunal, headed by retired Justice Manmohan Singh, in a recent order, has directed the ED to maintain “status quo” on the property. The Tribunal said, “There is no evidence to show that the said property was acquired from proceeds of crime. There is also no evidence that the appellant (Karti Chidambaram) is likely to dispose of the property in order to frustrate the PMLA proceedings”. The Tribunal also noted ED’s delay in not filing its response for over five months, after its direction on April 23 to reply to Karti’s application within six weeks.
The Tribunal further said, “No charge sheet has been filed by the CBI. No prosecution complaint under PMLA has been filed against the appellant (Karti)”.