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HindustanTimes Sat,25 Oct 2014

AAP not providing info on party funding: Govt

PTI  New Delhi, January 29, 2014
First Published: 12:44 IST(29/1/2014) | Last Updated: 16:42 IST(29/1/2014)

The Centre on Wednesday told the Delhi high court that Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leaders, including chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, have not yet provided information on the funding received by the party.

"We have asked for certain details from them regarding bank accounts and other information vide our letter dated November 4, 2013. We had also sent another letter to them. But there is no answer," additional solicitor general Rajeeve Mehra, appearing for the Union home ministry, told the court.

Read: Home ministry digs deeper into Aam Aadmi Party's funding

According to home ministry sources, the AAP has multiple bank accounts in many Indian states and the ministry has sought details of transactions carried out through these accounts to check any violation of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) that governs fundings from foreign sources.

"Earlier this month, in its first declaration to the Election Commission on donations received, the party had declared the donations it received from abroad. The AAP revealed that it got money from Indians living abroad in the US, UK, Singapore and even Romania. Most donations from foreign banks were of Rs. 50,000 or less.

EC regulations prohibit parties from getting funds from foreign sources, but the AAP said the donations did not violate EC rules as the money was given by non-resident Indians and not foreigners.

However, the FCRA debars receiving any foreign funding without home ministry's approval.

Read: Aam Aadmi Party sets bar high, lays bare its fund details

Meanwhile, the bench headed by justice Pradeep Nandrajog asked petitioner advocate ML Sharma to also implead the AAP as one of the respondents in the PIL filed by him seeking the lodging of a criminal case against founding members of the party, including Kejriwal, for allegedly receiving foreign funds in violation of law.

"AAP is a registered political party. Why you have not made them a party? File an amended memo of parties by next date of hearing i.e. February 5," the bench said.

Besides Kejriwal, the petitioner has made AAP leaders Manish Sisodia, Shanti Bhushan and Prashant Bhushan as party in his PIL.

The high court had earlier asked the Centre to look into "afresh" the accounts of AAP to find out the source of money received by it after its inception.

The order came after the Centre had filed a report saying an evaluation of the accounts of the civil society of Team Anna was done in 2012 and a report was filed before another bench of the high court last year in a similar PIL filed by the petitioner earlier.

The Centre had earlier submitted before the court that the issue raised by the petitioner in his PIL has already been investigated and a report was prepared on the issues earlier by the government.

Sharma, in his plea, had cited some names, including that of Kejriwal, and sought that "a direction be issued to register a criminal case against the respondents (AAP members) under the FCRA and to conduct day-to-day trial proceedings under court supervision in the interest of justice."


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