The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has claimed that it had returned several demand drafts sent as donations by foreigners.
The party said it was relying on a declaration and a digital signature to ensure that there was no foreign funding.
The Centre is conducting a probe into charges that AAP was receiving foreign funding. Section 29B of the Representation of People Act, 1951, prohibits political parties from taking donations from state-owned companies and foreign sources.
“On June 1, we got a demand draft worth Rs. 50,000 from one Saurabh Gupta. On suspicion, we conducted an inquiry and found he was a US citizen. On July 19, we wrote a letter to the bank, requesting the amount to be credited back to his account,” said Bipul Dey, who monitors donations for the party.
“On October 14, we returned seven such demand drafts and blacklisted the donors,” he said. “NRI donors are Indian passport holders and their contribution cannot be deemed as foreign,” he said.
“For NRIs willing to donate, our website asks for passport numbers, but it’s entirely up to the donors to be truthful.”
The declaration that each donor has to make reads: “I am an Indian citizen and am making this contribution voluntarily from legally earned personal funds. Nothing has been concealed”.
But not always everyone signing the declaration is truthful.
“One man named Rahul Gandhi contributed Rs. 2,000 to AAP. On probing, it came to light that it was not his real name,” said a AAP functionary.
“We have got a questionnaire from Union home ministry. They want to know if we have accounts and permission under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA), 2010. Political parties do not come under the ambit of FCRA. Our system is transparent,” Dey insisted.
Donations for AAP have peaked after the Centre announced the probe. By 8 pm on Wednesday, Rs. 19 lakh had been donated.