“Congress Alleges ‘Tax Terrorism’ by BJP: Income Tax Department Seeks ₹1,823 Crore Again”

The Congress party accused the Narendra Modi government of engaging in “tax terrorism” to create an unfair electoral environment in the Lok Sabha election. On Friday, the party revealed that the Income Tax department has demanded ₹1,823.08 crore from them. Congress treasurer Ajay Maken, along with general secretary (communications) Jairam Ramesh, stated in a press conference that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has committed “serious violations” in their donations, which should result in a penalty of ₹4,600 crore. The Congress arrived at this figure by applying the same penalty and interest rate that the I-T department imposed on the party for a cash deposit of ₹14 lakh made by its MPs and MLAs in 2019.

Mr. Maken emphasized the necessity for political parties to complete Form 24A, which requires the disclosure of donors’ names and addresses. Shockingly, there were more than 1,400 instances where donors’ addresses were missing, amounting to donations exceeding ₹42 crore.

“I intend to initiate a public interest litigation (PIL) petition to reclaim ₹4,600 crore from the BJP due to their transgressions over the past seven years,” he declared. “We have thoroughly reviewed all the BJP’s submissions to the Election Commission (EC), revealing consistent errors by the party annually.”

K.C. Venugopal, the party’s general secretary (organisation), urged the State and District units of the Congress to coordinate large-scale demonstrations nationwide on Saturday to denounce “the flagrant assault on democracy.”

Rahul’s warning

Mr. Ramesh accused the BJP of amassing ₹8,200 crore through the “electoral bonds scam” and claimed that the party aims to hinder fair competition for Opposition parties. He emphasized the BJP’s stance on a unified nation and minimal elections, stating, “We will not cower in fear of these threats. Instead, we will intensify our efforts and contest these elections vigorously.”

Hearing on April 1

The Supreme Court has been approached by the Congress treasurer regarding the ongoing tax dispute, and the case has been scheduled for a hearing on April 1. When asked about the United States government’s awareness of the Congress’ financial difficulties, Mr. Maken stated that “this is an internal matter and the Constitution grants us the authority to confront the BJP”.

He accused the I-T department of selectively targeting the Congress and other like-minded Opposition parties, claiming that it operates as the BJP’s “frontal organization”. Although he did not disclose the names of the other parties, sources revealed that the CPI(M) and the CPI have also received notices from the I-T department.

‘Why this exemption?

Party president Mallikarjun Kharge questioned the Income Tax Department’s decision to overlook a ₹4,600 Cr penalty for BJP’s ₹42 Cr unaccounted deposit, while demanding a ₹135 Cr penalty for Congress’ ₹14 lakh cash deposits by MLAs & MPs. He raised concerns about the unjustified treatment of the Opposition and asked why the BJP is receiving penalty exemptions. On the other hand, Mr. Venugopal criticized the BJP for imposing a ₹1800 crore penalty on INC, accusing them of stifling the INC financially. He questioned the fairness of elections and the role of the Election Commission in ensuring a level playing field. Additionally, Mr. Maken highlighted the reopening of Congress’ income tax returns on baseless grounds, leading to illegal I-T demand orders worth thousands of crores. He criticized the department for relying on manufactured evidence and questioned why similar actions were not taken against the BJP or its alliance partners.