I-T dept sends notice to AAP over alleged tampering of donation records

New Delhi: The Income Tax department on Tuesday issued a notice to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) asking why it should not be prosecuted for alleged falsification of account books and "wilful attempt" to evade tax on donations received by it.

The department has issued the show cause notice to the party's convener — Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal — and three others and has sought the party's reply in this regard by first half of this month.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

The tax department has charged the party with not filing a "true and correct" contribution report for donations received for the assessment year 2014-15 which have been found to be over Rs 30.08 crore after year long investigations.

The taxman said the first audit report filed by the party to it and the Election Commission, under the provisions of the Representation of People Act, were "incorrect and fabricated".

The notice said that in view of these charges, the department seeks to file a prosecution complaint (charge sheet) under I-T laws in a court under sections 277A (false statement in verification) and 276C (wilful attempt to evade tax).

A maximum of three years rigorous imprisonment and a fine can be levied on an accused once the charges are proved in court.

It said that the exemption enjoyed by the Kejriwal-led AAP from paying income tax on donations could also be withdrawn as these privileges have been "wrongly claimed".

Political parties enjoy tax exemption under section 13A of the Income Tax Act.

The notice while acknowledging that the party had accepted that there were "certain errors" in its first report filed in this regard, added that this admission by the AAP was itself an evidence that its audit report was fabricated initially but was corrected after the taxman began investigations of its audit books and accounts.

AAP's national treasurer Raghav Chadha termed the development as a "classic case of victimisation".

"In the last four days, we have received four notices from the Centre — from one wing of the I-T or the other, or the MHA. It is a classic case of victimisation. They (the Centre) have gone through every record of ours but have not been able to find anything. This is just concoction to malign and harass us. It is my legitimate right to revise my statement and you cannot prosecute me for that," he told PTI.

The tax department, early this year, had submitted these findings to the Election Commission too.

Updated Date: May 10, 2017 13:54 PM

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