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Kejriwal’s AAP gets Rs 30-crore notice from income tax dept over donations

AAP confirmed it has received the income tax notice and termed it a “malicious” attempt to target the party despite the transparent means it has been adopting.

delhi Updated: Nov 27, 2017 23:02 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Income tax dept,Arvind Kejriwal,AAP
AAP chief and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal with party leaders at Ram Lila Maidan in New Delhi on Sunday.(Sonu Mehta/HT File Photo)

The income-tax department has issued a Rs 30-crore notice to the Aam Aadmi party (AAP) for allegedly violating norms on collecting donations, including “hawala entries” worth Rs 2 crore.

The order for tax assessment issued this November 23 sought the party’s explanation by December 7, saying it “incorrectly disclosed hawala money as voluntary donations”.

The AAP said the order was “bogus” and accused the “people who run the country” of muzzling the voice of Delhi’s ruling party. The reference was to the BJP-led government at the Centre, with whom the AAP has a running dispute over administrative control of Delhi.

The income-tax department declared all donations to the AAP in 2014-2015 as illegal, revoking tax exemptions given to it as a political party.

The order came with the penalty notice (under section 271[1] [c]) for allegedly concealing its correct income, news agency PTI reported. The party has also been charged with not correctly reporting political donations received by it as stipulated under the Representation of the People Act.

Tax officials said the AAP was given 34 opportunities to explain its overseas donations, especially around Rs 13.16 crore it received from supporters from overseas before the 2015 Delhi elections.

The party allegedly did not disclose before the Election Commission details of Rs 6.26 crore donated by 461 donors — each donation exceeding Rs 20,000 — during the election campaign.

It has been alleged that details of donations worth Rs 36.95 crore were not uploaded online and the party did not declare Rs 29.13 crore in documents submitted to the poll panel.

The AAP’s total taxable income for 2014-2015 was Rs 68.44 crore, according to the tax notice. The corresponding income tax was pegged at Rs 30.67 crore.

Delhi chief minister and AAP national convenor, Arvind Kejriwal, responded to the notice as a case 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,” Kejriwal said in a tweet.

AAP treasurer Deepak Bajpai called it a “malicious” attempt to target the party, though “each penny that we get is accounted for”.

Delhi BJP leader Vijender Gupta called the income tax notice a “scathing but unequivocal indictment of AAP’s duplicity and unethical behaviour”.

(With PTI inputs)

First Published: Nov 27, 2017 14:52 IST