Congress’ Ajay Maken Slams Centre In Tax Row

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'Rs 65 Crores Transferred...': Congress' Ajay Maken Slams Centre In Tax Row

Senior Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi (File).

New Delhi:

The Congress on Wednesday claimed the Income Tax Department had illegally withdrawn Rs 65 crore from three of its accounts – towards a “unprecedented” tax demand of Rs 210 crore – despite the claim currently being heard by the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal. 

In a post on X, Congress leader Ajay Maken pointed out national political parties were exempt from paying income tax (though they do have to file tax returns) and asked if the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party would also receive similar demands.

“Yesterday, the Income Tax Department mandated banks to transfer over Rs 65 crores from Indian National Congress, Indian Youth Congress, and National Students’ Union of India accounts to the government – Rs 5 crore from IYC and NSUI, and Rs 60.25 crores from INC, marking a concerning move by the BJP government,” he wrote.

“Is it common for national political parties to pay Income Tax? No. Does BJP pay Income Tax? No. Why then is the Congress Party facing an unprecedented demand of Rs 210 crore?” Mr Maken asked on X.

“During today’s ITAT proceedings, we presented our case. The hearing is set to continue tomorrow.”

“Funds in question were raised through grassroots efforts, including crowdfunding and membership drives by IYC and NSUI. This raises a crucial question about democracy. Is it under threat?” he continued.

“Our hope now lies with the judiciary… democracy will be over if probe agencies’ action is unchecked.”

Last week the Congress found its main bank accounts frozen by tax officials. These were, however, quickly unfrozen by the tribunal pending the outcome of the hearing that began this afternoon.

READ | “115 Crores Frozen, Don’t Have That Much”: Congress On Bank Accounts Row

The Congress hit out at the BJP and called the tax notices “politically motivated” and “strategically timed to disrupt election preparations”. Mr Maken called them a “disturbing blow to the democratic process”.

“Democracy doesn’t exist; this is like a one-rule party, and the principal opposition party has been subjugated. We seek justice from the judiciary, media, and the people,” the senior leader said.

He said the party submitted its 2018/19 financial details (an election year) 45 days late, but called the freezing of the accounts an extreme measure, arguing there was no precedence for such action.

Mr Maken further said the timing of the freeze raised suspicions about the motives behind the action.

“Right now, we have no money to spend. Electricity bills, staff salaries… everything is impacted. Look at the timing; this is clear,” he said, “We have only one PAN, and the four accounts are all linked.”

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