NEW DELHI: Sources close to Congress leader P Chidambaram today dismissed the charge of conflict of interest when his wife appeared as a senior counsel for the income tax department in 2004 when he was Finance Minister or when she took up the case of a woman in connection with the Sarada chit fund scam case.
Sources close to Chidambaram said his wife Nalini was engaged as senior counsel by the junior counsel of the Income Tax Department.
She appeared for the department and not against the department. The engagement was without the Finance Minister's knowledge. The CBDT issued a statement regretting the embarrassment caused by the engagement, they said.
They also said Chidambaram made a statement in Parliament. There was a discussion. At the end, the Speaker announced that the matter was closed. This was in 2004. It was never raised again.
They were reacting to a statement in this regard by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in the Lok Sabha while she intervened during a discussion on the Lalit Modi controversy.
The sources also said Nalini Chidambaram was counsel for a woman in a Saradha scam case. She advised her in a transaction that was being negotiated. Finally, she advised her client against going through with the transaction.
This had nothing to do with the Finance Ministry or Chidambaram. All this was explained about 3-4 years ago by Nalini Chidambaram, they said and asked "Where is the conflict of interest?"