The Aam Aadmi Party walked into a fresh donation row two days before Delhi goes to the polls. The party’s website Thursday showed that a string of donations were made to the two-year-old outfit in the year 1900. This could be a technical glitch but all these contributions were earlier shown to have been made in December 2014.
HT has screenshots to show that the donation dates of at least 10 entries have been altered from December 24, 2014 to January 1, 1900. The receipt numbers and donors’ names remain unchanged.
For example, one Vishal Marwah of Delhi (Receipt MO1214397646) donated Rs. 19,900 on December 24, 2014. The website Thursday showed the donation date as January 1, 1900.
HT found that these entries — all of which are for Rs. 19,900 — seem to have been pushed back on the website and it takes some browsing before these show up. Section 29C of the Representation of the People Act, the law that governs the election process, requires all political parties to disclose donations in excess of Rs. 20,000 to the Election Commission, with names and addresses of the donors.
The fact that political parties do not need to share the source or the donors’ details of contributions of less than Rs. 20,000 with the poll panel is a loophole being exploited to route black money, an internal finance ministry report suggests.
The Rs. 19,900 donations were picked and questioned by people on the social media and it was after that the AAP website started showing the year 1900.
AAP’s national secretary Pankaj Gupta, however, strongly denied any attempt at altering dates or hiding black money. “There might be some software issues. We will look into it. Why would we move entries to the year 1900? They could be removed altogether.”
Gupta, who also oversees AAP’s fund-raising, said the Rs. 19,900 donations might have come after the party hosted tea, lunch and dinner and sold coupons to raise money. “Every penny received by AAP is clean, and we strive to maintain absolute transparency,” he said.
The AAP has held dinners and high teas to raise funds to foot its bill for the Delhi as well as Lok Sabha elections.
The party, which says its funding is transparent and details of all donations available on its website, is battling accusations of money laundering and accepting funds from alleged shell companies.
A breakaway faction had Monday accused the party of receiving donations of Rs. 50 lakh each from four shell companies in 2014. The company addresses were found to be fake and they shared the same set of directors.
The AAP has shrugged off the charges, saying it received the donation through cheques.
The fact that the donations were made by cheque did not purify the transaction, finance minister and senior BJP leder Arun Jaitley said in his blog.
Addressing a poll rally Wednesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Kejriwal stood exposed and so did his claims of being “Mr Clean”.
Last checked, the website still showed several entries against January 1, 1900.