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'Does BJP pay...?': Congress claims I-T dept withdrew Rs 65 crore from its bank accounts 'undemocratically'

Congress treasurer Ajay Maken has claimed that "democracy will be over in the country if the action of probe agencies goes unchecked" and said the Congress has full faith in the judiciary.

Arushi Jaiswal Edited By: Arushi Jaiswal @JaiswalArushi New Delhi Published on: February 21, 2024 18:44 IST
Congress, BJP, Ajay Maken, IT dept
Image Source : PTI (FILE) Congress leader Ajay Maken

New Delhi: The Congress on Wednesday claimed that the Income Tax department has "undemocratically" withdrawn Rs 65 crore from its accounts in various banks, despite the ongoing legal case regarding the return of these funds for previous years.

"Yesterday, the Income Tax department mandated banks to transfer over Rs 65 crores from Congress, IYC and NSUI accounts to the government - Rs 5 crore from IYC and NSUI and Rs 60.25 crore from INC, marking a concerning move by the BJP government," Maken said in a post on X.

"Is it common for national political parties to pay Income Tax? No. Does the BJP pay Income Tax? No. Why then is the Congress Party facing an unprecedented demand of Rs 210 crore," he asked. 

"During today’s ITAT proceedings, we presented our case. The hearing is set to continue tomorrow. The funds in question were raised through grassroots efforts, including crowd funding and membership drives by the IYC and NSUI," the Congress leader said.

Details of amount withdrawn

Giving details, Maken said that while Rs 60.25 crore has been taken out in the form of demand drafts from Congress' three bank accounts, a sum of Rs 5 crore has been withdrawn from the accounts of the Indian Youth Congress.

He said while the sum of Rs 17.65 crore has been taken from the Bank of Baroda, K G Marg, Connaught Place branch; Rs 41.85 crore from Union Bank of India, Connaught Place branch; and another Rs 74.62 lakh from the Punjab National Bank account of the Congress party, totalling Rs 60.25 crore.

Congress bank accounts freeze

The Congress faced a setback when its main bank accounts were frozen on Friday due to an Income Tax demand of Rs 210 crore. However, the party received a reprieve as an Income Tax appellate tribunal allowed it to operate the frozen accounts pending further hearing next week. This decision came as a relief for the party, which stated that the freeze had severely impacted its political activities.

Maken, who initially informed the media about the account freeze, explained that the tribunal has imposed a lien of Rs 115 crore on the accounts, allowing the party to utilize funds exceeding this amount. Vivek Tankha, another party leader who represented the Congress before the tribunal, emphasized the importance of the party's participation in electoral processes and argued against the account freeze.

Various leaders within the party, including Mallikarjun Kharge and Rahul Gandhi, condemned the government's action, labeling it as an attack on democracy. Maken highlighted the perceived threat to democracy in the country and provided details of the tribunal's order.

Also Read: Lok Sabha Elections: Congress to contest 17 seats, Akhilesh Yadav's SP, others 63 in UP

Also Read: SP-Congress alliance in UP back on track, says Akhilesh after talks with Priyanka Gandhi

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