The Election Commission on Tuesday issued a notice to Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) over alleged incorrect disclosures on contributions. The EC in its notice sought an explanation on discrepancies in donations filed by the party during the financial year 2014-15. The EC has further asked the party to explain within 20 days failing to which action could be taken against it.
The move by the EC has come on the heels of a report by the Central Board of Direct Taxes on the alleged concealment of donations by the party.
“Your representation should reach the office of the Commission within 20 days from the date of receipt of the notice, failing which the matter will be decided on merits based on information available on record,” said the notice.
As per the notice issued, EC has alleged that AAP has taken donations from hawala operators to the tune of Rs. 2 crores, which were shown as “voluntary donations”. The party, the Commission said, also has not accounted for donations worth Rs. 13.16 crore.
The allegation of hawala funding to AAP is reminiscent of 2015 when it was accused of receiving foreign fundings but later given a clean chit from the Centre.
However, now the Income Tax department had flagged donation discrepancies against AAP and in a letter written to the EC, the IT has said there were discrepancies in the details of donations in two financial years — 2013-14 and 2014-15.
Arvind Kejriwal’s AAP has also reacted strongly to the allegation with party treasurer and MLA ND Gupta terming EC’s notice to be based on poor interpretation of basic accounting practices by the Central Board of Direct Taxes(CBDT).
Citing anomalies in the commission’s notice, Gupta was quoted by NDTV as saying that “EC’s report appeared to have copy-pasted and referred grossly incorrect and biased observations of income tax department. Even bank transfers between different state units of the party have also been treated as fresh donations.”