IT freezes Congress’ bank accounts; India’s democracy has been frozen, says BJP’s biggest Opposition

New Delhi: IT Appellate Tribunal lets Party use accounts by keeping lien of Rs 115 crores which INC says is more than its balance

BY | Friday, 16 February, 2024

India’s democracy has been frozen, Congress Treasurer Ajay Maken said on Friday at a press conference where he announced that the Income Tax Department has frozen the bank accounts of the Indian National Congress, BJP’s main Opposition Party.

Maken informed that the “ridiculous” reasons provided by the IT department for sealing the bank accounts dates back to 2018 when the last general election was held in the country. He mentioned that the Congress Party was a “little late” in submitting its accounts by 31st December 2019. The other reason was that the Congress spent Rs 199 crore in the 2018 election where its legislators had deposited their salaries totaling Rs 14 lakh 40 thousand in cash. Because of this, a penalty of Rs 210 crore has been imposed on Congress, he informed.

The Congress Treasurer further said that the money in the accounts are money donated online by people and not through “unconstitutional” electoral bonds like those in the BJP’s accounts.

Read more: Supreme Court declares electoral bonds unconstitutional, directs SBI to stop issuing them

“It is clear from this step that democracy is no more in our country,” Maken said, claiming that the country is headed towards a ‘one party system’.

Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge reiterated that freezing the Party’s account just before the Lok Sabha elections is a “deep blow to democracy” and vowed to “fight strongly against this injustice and dictatorship.”

The unconstitutional money that BJP has collected will be used in the elections, but the money we have collected through crowdfunding will be sealed. That is why we have said that there will be no elections in future!” he said. Kharge appealed to the judiciary “to save the multi-party system in this country and secure India’s democracy.”

Later, Congress leader and lawyer Vivek Tankha informed that the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal has allowed the Party to use its bank accounts with a lien of the IT Department after it filed an appeal on Friday. Prayer for interim relief will be heard on Wednesday, he said in a video post on X.

However, Congress Treasurer Ajay Maken further informed said that the IT Tribunal and IT department have directed the Party to ensure that Rs 115 crores have to be kept in the accounts as a lien but claimed that the Party has lesser than Rs 115 crores in its current accounts.

Meanwhile, the Indian Youth Congress has taken out a huge protest at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on Friday against the BJP government for freezing the bank accounts of the Congress.

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