Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) was served a Rs 30.64 crore notice by the Income Tax department on Monday.
On Sunday, Aam Aadmi Party celebrated five years of its foundation with Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal giving a call to vote for whichever candidate was in position to defeat BJP, which he accused of dividing India and doing to India in three years what Pakistan’s ISI could not in 60 years.
On Monday, the Income Tax department declared all the donations AAP has received as illegal, reported The Times of India. The tax notice has asked AAP why Rs 30.67 crore should not be recovered from the party. It has been asked to furnish a reply by December 7.
AAP national convener Arvind Kejriwal called it the “height of political vendetta”.
“In the history of India, All donations to a political party have been declared illegal. All these were accounted for and shown in books of accounts. This is height of political vendetta,” he tweeted.
“All our donations have been declared taxable income and the department has demanded tax on the income. AAP has made all political donations transparent in its attempts to bring out Indian politics from the muddle of black money. The party’s honest politics is being appreciated the world over. But the government is trying to harass us,” AAP national treasurer Deepak Bajpai said.
The Income Tax department reportedly said that AAP had been given 34 chances to explain allegations that it had concealed details of a chunk of its overseas donations and the party has not been able to account for around Rs. 13 crore it received from its overseas supporters before the 2015 Delhi election, which it won.
AAP is also accused of not disclosing to the Election Commission details of 461 donors who contributed over Rs. 6 crore to their campaign.
Officials say their investigations show that AAP did not put up on its website details of nearly Rs. 37 crore in donations. Also, in documents to the Election Commission, AAP did not declare close to Rs. 30 crore received from donors, officials allege.
Kejriwal, 49, has alleged that the tax crackdown is part of the central government’s strategy to persecute AAP – one of its fiercest critics – and discredit its anti-corruption mission.
Arvind Kejriwal’s attack on BJP on APP’s fifth anniversary:
- “Pakistan’s biggest dream is to divide India on religious lines. Those fake patriots who want to weaken the nation by pitting Hindus against Muslims are actually agents of Pakistan’s Inter-services Intelligence (ISI). BJP has done in last three years, what the ISI could not achieve in 70 years.”
- “Vote for a candidate or a party that can defeat the BJP. If AAP is in a winning position in a constituency, vote for AAP. Else, vote for whoever is in a position to defeat the BJP. Defeating BJP is our goal.”
- “Vyapam scam, Rafale scam, Birla diaries, Sahara diaries. Even judges are not safe, it seems. Just as people had uprooted the Congress, the time for BJP is coming as well.”
Apart from sundry criminal cases that were filed against AAP leaders routinely ever since it formed government in Delhi, AAP has received several notices about funding and alleged irregularities in the details the party uploaded on its website and details it furnished with the I-T department.
The I-T notices featured in Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal’s speech at the foundation day celebrations at Ramlila Maidan on Sunday when he said that the Centre has been harassing even small donors of AAP.
The two biggest recipients of funds from undisclosed sources – the BJP and Congress, with the former being way ahead – have gone unquestioned by authorities. AAP has been raising the issue.
On September 7, AAP had asked for details regarding the “unknown sources” behind the donations to the BJP and the Congress in 2015-16. A report of the Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR) said that the BJP and Congress together received Rs 646.82 crore, or over 77 per cent of their total income, from “unknown sources” during 2015-16. AAP sought to know from the Election Commission (EC) what action the poll watchdog had taken against the two parties
BJP’s 81% income – Rs 461 crores – was through donations by unknown sources, while the Congress received Rs 186 crore or 71 per cent of its total income from “unknown sources” in 2015-16, said the ADR report.