Election Commission notice to AAP on donations
In its notice to the party, the Election Commission has said that AAP’s bank account has recorded a total credit of Rs 67.67 crore, including Rs 64.44 crore from donations in excess of Rs 20,000. However, in its audited accounts for the year, the party has disclosed Rs 54.15 crore in donations .
The Election Commission of India (EC) has issued a notice to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) over alleged discrepancies in the disclosure of its donations for the financial year 2014-15, following a report received from the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) in January.
In its notice to the party, the poll panel has said that AAP’s bank account has recorded a total credit of Rs 67.67 crore, including Rs 64.44 crore from donations in excess of Rs 20,000.
However, in its audited accounts for the year, the party has disclosed Rs 54.15 crore in donations .
“Therefore, it has been held by the assessing officer that Rs 13.16 crore have not been accounted for by the party and these donations have come from unknown sources,” the poll panel has said.
ND Gupta, national treasurer of AAP, said, “We have explained each and every ‘misinterpretation’ and so called ‘difference of Rs 13 crore’ as alleged by the CBDT in its appeal. The appeal is pending. We will also explain each and every detail to the Election Commission of India.”
Political parties are exempt from making disclosures about donors who contribute less than Rs 20,000. But, they have to disclose to the tax authorities the details of donations above Rs 20,000. Those who don’t comply with the rules, don’t get tax relief.
The party issued a statement in which it said that the “observations show deep rooted bias of statutory authority against” it. “This notice is based on poor interpretation of basic accounting practices by CBDT. AAP had filed contribution report for 2014-15 with Election Commission for Rs 37,60,62,631 from various donors. Earlier, the details of multiple receipts from same donor were disclosed in the contribution report,” said Gupta.
He said that the party had explained to the income tax department about the total number of times each donor had contributed.
“Even the amount of donations in original contribution report is wrongly mentioned in the notice. The Election Commission has copy pasted and referred to the grossly incorrect and biased observations of income tax department in its aforesaid notice,” Gupta said.
The poll panel has also made a reference to the CBDT report, hinting at hawala transactions. “The report states that the party has taken accommodation entries from hawala operators to the tune of Rs 2 crore. These have also been wrongly disclosed as voluntary donations,” the notice to AAP reads.
Another issue raised by the poll panel on the basis of the CBDT report is that of wrong disclosures made by the party on the official website and furnishing incorrect information under Section 29C of the RP Act.
The party has been given 20 days to submit its reply, failing which the poll body can invoke action for violating the Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order, 1968.
First Published: Sep 12, 2018 02:56:33