‘India Under Attack’: Congress bank accounts ‘unfrozen’ after big Income Tax action claim

Vivek Tankha, the Congress’ legal representation, who appeared before the Income Tax tribunal against the order, said the Congress was now allowed to operate its bank accounts.

The Income Tax tribunal will hear the matter next Wednesday before a final decision is taken on the matter.

Mr Tankha said he told the tribunal that the Congress would not be able to participate in the ‘festival of elections’, in case the party accounts remain frozen.

Mr Tankha’s statement comes after Congress treasurer Ajay Maken said the I-T department had frozen the Congress’ main bank accounts on ‘flimsy grounds’ and this affected all political activity of the party, barely two weeks before general elections were announced.

‘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,’ Mr Maken told reporters.

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

The Congress issued a clarification stating that the party is mandated to ensure that a sum of INR 115 crore has to be maintained in their bank accounts. The amount has to remain untouched in compliance with the directive from the tax authorities, implying a freeze on these funds.

‘This means that INR 115 crore have been frozen. This INR 115 crore is much more than we have in our current accounts,’ the Congress said.

Mr Maken said the party filed its Income Tax return for the concerned year a few days late, which led to the freezing action, adding four main bank accounts were frozen.

The Congress attacked the Modi-led BJP government, adding that it was unable to use even the funds received under its crowdfunding scheme, alleging democracy was ‘in danger in the country.’

‘This is a deep assault on India’s Democracy’ he added.

‘The unconstitutional money collected by the BJP would be utilized by them for elections, but the money collected by the Congress through crowdfunding shall be sealed,’ the Congress president observed.

‘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,’ Kharge added.

Senior party leader Sachin Pilot said the freezing of Congress’s bank accounts “is a clear misuse of power”.’

‘The Congress party has always upheld its governing principles and maintained transparency in the money raised through various channels and campaigns. Never in the history of political discourse has such a blatant act of political vendetta been unleashed on other opposition party.

It is the BJP which has hoarded 90% of money raised through electoral bonds, which was declared unconstitutional by the Hon’ble Supreme Court yesterday. The timing of all these actions is questionable and the motive is clearly deliberate.

The BJP has left no stone unturned to stifle opposition voices and has set a dangerous precedent for targeting opponents and undermining democratic processes,’ Sachin Pilot wrote on X (formally Twitter).