Timing of son’s case smacks of political vendetta: Amarinder

Chandigarh, March 21 (IANS) Punjab Congress president Amarinder Singh on Monday said the timing of an income tax case involving his son ahead of the assembly elections “smacked of political vendetta” and pointed a finger at union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.

Amarinder’s son Raninder Singh was issued summons on Saturday by a Ludhiana court in a case filed by the income tax department for alleged non-disclosure of foreign bank accounts.

Amarinder reiterated the charge that the cases were being put up against his family members at the behest of Jaitley, whom he defeated in the 2014 Lok Sabha election for the Amritsar seat.

“Why is the government of India pursuing the case of alleged foreign accounts of my wife Preneet Kaur and son Raninder Singh only, while there are 1,200 others also accused of holding similar accounts. The purported account shown against the name of my wife and son was shown with ‘zero balance’. How can it be possible to hold an account, that too in a Swiss bank, without any balance?” Amarinder told the media here.

“This is despite the fact that HSBC authorities have already certified five years ago that they did not have any account anywhere with it (HSBC),” the Congress leader said, showing three letters from HSBC authorities certifying that neither Preneet Kaur, a former union minister, nor Raninder Singh had any account in any of the bank branches anywhere in the world.

“We cannot take it lying down. We won’t allow ourselves to be blackmailed. We will call their (political rivals) bluff. They are deliberately raising the issue from time to time to malign me and my family ahead of the election year and they have nothing against him,” Amarinder said.

The Congress leader said a higher court will be moved to seek quashing of the income tax department’s complaint since, he added, it was without basis.

Amarinder produced copies of letters signed by HSBC managing director Robert J. Du Lessis and director Stephen Barney, dated September 6, 2011, certifying that neither Preneet nor Raninder had any account in the bank.

He said these documents were submitted to the income tax authorities long back and “they initially stopped pursuing the matter”.

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