Updated February 21st, 2024 at 15:03 IST

I-T has withdrawn Rs 65 crore from banks 'undemocratically', alleges Congress

Party treasurer Ajay Maken has claimed that "democracy will be over if the action of probe agencies goes unchecked" and said the Congress has full faith in the judiciary.

Representative | Image:PTI
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New Delhi: The Congress on Wednesday alleged that the Income Tax department has "withdrawn" a sum of Rs 65 crore from its accounts in different banks "undemocratically" even when the case pertaining to their return for previous years is sub judice.

Party treasurer Ajay Maken has claimed that "democracy will be over if the action of probe agencies goes unchecked" and said the Congress has full faith in the judiciary.

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"The Income Tax department had written to various banks to withdraw a sum of Rs 65 crore from different bank accounts of the Congress and Indian Youth Congress in view of the demand raised by the Income Tax authorities earlier, despite the appellate authorities hearing the case," Maken told PTI.

He said even when the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal, which the Congress had moved against the Income Tax department's claim of Rs 210 crore as recovery for "discrepancies" in previous tax returns has been stayed and a lien has been marked, the tax authorities have resorted to "undemocratic action" by taking out the amount from their accounts.

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The Congress leader said the party had written to its bankers not to withdraw any amount as the case was sub judice and hearing in the case before the I-T Tribunal was still on.

"Alarming Update: Concerns rise over the actions of Central Government agencies, potentially threatening the multi-party system in India. If unchecked, democracy in India will be over.

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"Without intervention of judiciary, our democratic principles will be endangered," Maken said in a post on X.

In another post in Hindi, he said, "Since yesterday evening, Congress has been a victim of the anti-democratic attitude of the government machinery.

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"We have full faith in the judicial system of India," he said, adding that he would share more information on the issue soon.

The Income Tax authorities are hearing the matter on Wednesday.

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The Congress' main bank accounts were frozen on Friday over an Income Tax demand of Rs 210 crore but an I-T appellate tribunal later allowed it to operate them pending a further hearing next week, a huge relief for the party which said the move had impacted all political activity.

Maken, who had earlier addressed a press conference to announce that Income Tax authorities had frozen its accounts, said the tribunal has put a lien of Rs 115 crore on its accounts and the party has been allowed to spend over and above that.

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Party leader Vivek Tankha, who appeared before the tribunal against the order, said he told the tribunal that the Congress would not be able to participate in the "festival of elections" if its accounts remain frozen.

Several party leaders, including party president Mallikarjun Kharge and former party chief Rahul Gandhi, expressed their outrage and alleged that the government's move was an attack on democracy.

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Maken said democracy was in danger in the country and detailed the tribunal's order. 

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Published February 21st, 2024 at 15:03 IST