IT dept freezes Cong's accounts, party says all political activity affected

The accounts were frozen on an Income Tax demand of Rs 210 crore for 2018-19, an election year, Maken said.
Congress leader and former Union minister Ajay Maken.
Congress leader and former Union minister Ajay Maken. (File| EPS)

KHUNTI: The Income Tax department has frozen the Congress' main bank accounts on "flimsy grounds", treasurer Ajay Maken claimed on Friday and said this has affected all political activity of the party barely two weeks before general elections are announced.

The party is unable to use even the funds received under its crowdfunding scheme, Maken said at a press conference and alleged that democracy is in danger in the country.

Maken said four main bank accounts were frozen. Sources later put the number at nine.

The accounts, including that of the Indian Youth Congress, were frozen on an Income Tax demand of Rs 210 crore for 2018-19, an election year, Maken said.

According to him, the party filed its Income Tax return for the concerned year a few days late and that is why this action.

He said the IT authorities' orders freezing the accounts had come on Wednesday.

"For the first time in the country's history, accounts of the principal opposition party have been frozen by the tax authorities on flimsy grounds, barely two weeks before the announcement of general elections," Maken told reporters.

Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge said in a post on X, "Power drunk Modi Government has frozen the accounts of the country's largest Opposition party - the Indian National Congress - just before the Lok Sabha elections."

"This is a deep assault on India's Democracy," he added.

The unconstitutional money collected by the BJP would be utilised by them for elections, but the money collected by the Congress through crowdfunding shall be sealed, the party president said.

"That is why, I have said that there won't be any elections in the future. We appeal to the Judiciary to save the multi-party system in this country and protect India's Democracy," the Congress president said.

He said they will take to the streets and wage a strong fight against this autocracy.

Echoing the party chief, Maken appealed to the judiciary to save democracy as it was in danger and said the country is headed towards "one-party democracy".

He said the party has already appealed to the Income Tax appellate authority and hoped for justice.

The party will otherwise make an appeal before the judiciary, Maken said.

On Thursday, the Supreme Court scrapped the Centre's electoral bonds scheme of anonymous political funding, calling it "unconstitutional" and ordering disclosure of the bond's donors, amount and recipients by March 13.

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