AAP gets EC notice in hawala case
SUSPECTING fudging of records, the Election Commission (EC) has issued a show-cause notice to Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and asked it to explain discrepancies in the electoral funding statement.
The EC notice is based on information available with it and the tax department. The notice has mentioned transactions with hawala dealers claiming that the party has taken "accommodation entries from hawala operators to the tune of Rs 2 crore. A Delhi-based hospital chain is learnt to have donated the money to the start-up political party.
The EC has threatened the Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP of action if it failed the funding transparency test. It has given the party 20 days time to respond claiming that transactions through hawala operators were wrongly disclosed as voluntary donations.
The Rule 16 A of the Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order allows the EC to either suspend or withdraw recognition of a recognised political party. The AAP dubbed the EC notice sent to it over alleged discrepancies in electoral funding as "poor interpretation" of basic accounting practices and alleged "bias" of central agencies against it. The party also expressed fear of possible "harassment" by agencies over the issue. "This notice is based on poor interpretation of basic accounting practices by the Central Board of Direct Taxes(CBDT)," party treasurer and Rajya Sabha MP N D Gupta said in a statement.
The notice said that AAP had submitted the original contribution report for financial year 2014-15, which was received by it on September 30, 2015. The party later submitted a revised report on March 20, 2017. "The report contains a list of 2,696 donors with the total donations amounting to Rs 37,45,44,618 and the revised contribution report shows the total amount as Rs 37,60,62,631 received from 8,264 donors," it said.
The poll panel said that a report was received from the office of the CBDT chairman in 2018 regarding "concealment of donations received by the AAP" during FY15.
This is not the first time AAP funding has been questioned. Last year, it was asked to explain some of the donations it received from various sources. In the latest case, the EC has claimed that AAP made "wrong disclosures" on its official website and also furnished incorrect information to the poll panel under Section 29C of the Representation of the People Act.