Unknown parties with crores in kitty
The EC reported the Parmarth Party and Rashtriya Vikas Party to the Central Board of Direct Taxes for investigation. These parties are based in Haryana and the income tax department raided both, report Kanwar Sandhu & Manish Tiwari.Updated: May 04, 2008, 02:55 IST
Chances are you’ve never heard of the Parmarth Party or the Rashtriya Vikas Party or the Satya Vijay Party. These are among the many registered political parties receiving huge donations.
The EC looked at their declarations of donations and contributions and said it has reason to suspect “gross misuse” of their status as registered political parties.
The EC reported the Parmarth Party and Rashtriya Vikas Party to the Central Board of Direct Taxes for investigation. These parties are based in Haryana and the income tax department raided both.
“The Parmarth Party records showed donations were being utilised for investment in shares, loans and advances, jewellery, etc,” Vikram Sahay, deputy secretary in the Finance Ministry informed EC secretary KF Wilfred.
The two parties — one registered in 2004 and the other in 2002 — received crores in donations.
Election commissioner SY Quraishi said: “This is a serious matter. But we have no powers to either regulate such funding or de-recognize parties misusing their status.”
“There is a distinct possibility that this may even lead to a racket where political parties are registered merely for tax evasion, taking advantage of the loopholes in the law,” said an EC communication to the Union Law Ministry.
The Parmarth Party (name now changed to Matra Bhakta Party) received Rs 96.43 lakh in donations in 2004-05 and Rs 1.10 crore in 2005-06. The same year the Congress received Rs 5.96 crore and the BJP got Rs 3.61 crore.
In 2005, the Rashtriya Vikas Party — headquartered in Faridabad — received about Rs 2 crore in three donations from one firm. MP Sharma, who runs Sharma Detectives, heads the party. When contacted, Sharma told HT: “Our political rivals must be behind the IT raid as they are feeling threatened because of our presence. We have provided all records to the Income Tax department. The party is for political purposes and our five candidates fought Lok Sabha elections in 2004.”
The donations received by Satya Vijay Party headquartered in Indore has also raised the EC’s suspicion as after its registration in July 2005, it received huge funds – many from professors and lecturers of Jhabua (Madhya Pradesh).
“There is something more than what meets the eye in these donations,” said Chief Election Commissioner N Gopalaswami in a recent communication to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on this issue.