CHANDIGARH: In a major downer MLA wannabes after polling day, some 300 candidates who contested the Punjab Assembly election held on Feb 4 have received notices from the Income-Tax Department asking to see proof of their sources of income and such like.
Cutting across party lines, the notices have been sent out to Congress, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), BJP and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) candidates. There are some Independents too. Highly placed sources said the notices went out through the returning officers of the candidates’ respective constituencies.
The recipients were none too pleased and many of them expressed their displeasure to the chief electoral officer of Punjab, V K Singh.
The notices require the candidates to show proof of the sources of income disclosed by them in the affidavits that they filed along with their nomination papers.
Candidates whose assets have grown or dipped in the past five years have been told to furnish details to show why and how. Their spouses and dependents have to comply too.
The details would have to be furnished to the I-T Department by February 25. If the department is not satisfied by the replies of a candidate, the Election Commission will be informed.
In a study by the NGO Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), around 93 per cent of the candidates fielded by the SAD are crorepatis, meaning they have assets more than Rs 1 crore. Similarly, 88 per cent of the candidates of Congress, 87 percent of BJP, 63 per cent of AAP, 31 percent of APP and 23 percent of Independents are crorepatis.
While many candidates with wildly fluctuating fortunes will be tested by the IT notices, the hardest part has fallen to the BJP’s Seema Kumari, the sitting MLA and candidate from Bhoa constituency. She declared a personal worth of Rs 2.81 lakh in 2012, which grew to Rs 81 lakh in 2017.