AAP, Congress get income tax notices

New Delhi (IANS): The income tax department has served a notice on the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), seeking an explanation about the charges of receiving funds from dubious sources as alleged by a splinter group of the party.

A similar notice has also been served on the Congress party, a Congress spokesperson told IANS.

The AAP, which has already denied the charges, said they were not bothered by the notice and would reply in due course. “Let them do whatever they want. We welcome the probe. We will respond to them in due time,” an AAP leader said.

The IT department, which functions under the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) of the finance ministry, has asked the party to furnish its reply by Feb 16 — two days after Arvind Kejriwal is scheduled to take oath as Delhi chief minister following a stunning win in the Feb 7 Delhi assembly polls.

The notice, addressed to the principal officer Aam Aadmi Party, said four companies had transferred money to AAP and “enquiries revealed that such companies are not prima facie genuine.”

“The companies and the directors are not available at the addresses mentioned in the bank and government agencies,” it added.

The notice was sent Feb 9, a day before the Delhi poll results were announced. The AAP won 67 out of the 70 seats in the Delhi assembly.

Apart from the AAP and the Congress, 48 other entities in Delhi were issued IT notices.

The issue also created quite a buzz on social networking sites with many people tweeting about the IT notice to AAP, soon after it won the Delhi polls.

“A strange gift on their victory, IT Notice to AAP in relation to 2Cr Black money, investigation proceedings initiated,” Media personality Pritish Nandy tweeted.

In the run-up to the election, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had alleged that the AAP was caught red-handed while receiving dubious funds from companies that did not have any business.

He accused the AAP leadership of adopting diversionary tactics to deflect attention, adding such donations amounted to Rs. two crore through cheques of Rs.50 lakh each from four firms.

The AAP had protested against such allegations saying: “Mr. Finance Minister. Stop throwing muck. Act. Arrest me if i am guilty,” Kejriwal had tweeted. “Fin min (finance minister) says we took hawala money. Hawala money in cheques? I dare Fin min to arrest me if we took hawala money.”

Kejriwal had urged Chief Justice of India H.L. Dattu to set up a special team to probe not just his party but the BJP and the Congress as well.

The Congress party, meanwhile, said it has also received a similar missive from the IT department.

“Yes, we have been served a notice. It is clearly a sign of political vendetta. Let me ask: Why has a similar notice not been served on BJP? Why single us and the AAP out. BJP has also spent crores of rupees on elections,” a Congress party spokesperson told IANS.

Last week, the AAP Volunteer Action Manch (AVAM), a breakaway group of the party, had questioned the sources of funding for the Kejriwal-led party, alleging some of it could be sourced to what it described as “fraud” companies.

It claimed the money had been donated on the midnight of April 15 last year.