Cong can operate ‘frozen’ bank accounts, says I-T tribunal, Maken says 115 cr frozen

The tribunal will hear the party's plea for interim relief on Wednesday

Representative image
Representative image

NH Political Bureau

In a development providing temporary relief for the Congress party, the income tax appellate tribunal has granted permission for the party to operate its previously frozen bank accounts.

This comes in response to the party's claims that the income tax department had frozen its accounts and was seeking a recovery of Rs 210 crore. However, senior Congress leader Ajay Maken revealed that despite the tribunal's decision, an amount of Rs 115 crore remains frozen.

Earlier in the day, Maken, expressing concerns about the state of democracy in India, stated that the Congress' accounts were frozen and the income tax department had demanded Rs 210 crore as recovery for a supposed delay in filing the returns for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

"We got to know that the Youth Congress bank accounts have been frozen. The accounts of the Congress party have also been seized. Income tax asked for Rs 210 crore recovery from Youth Congress and Congress party. The crowdfunding money in our accounts has been frozen. When the Opposition's accounts are frozen just two weeks before elections, it is equivalent to freezing democracy," Maken said.

Maken strongly criticised the government, questioning the timing of the freezing of the accounts. He alleged that the move was aimed at disrupting the party's election preparations.

Highlighting the grounds on which the accounts were allegedly frozen as "laughable", Maken disclosed that the funds in the Congress party's accounts were primarily obtained through online crowdfunding.

Approximately Rs 25 crore was collected, with nearly 95 per cent of the contributions received through UPI transfers in amounts as small as Rs 100, said Maken. The Congress leader also asserted that the funds in the Youth Congress account were accumulated through a membership drive.

While the tribunal's decision allows the Congress party to resume operations of its bank accounts, the matter is not fully resolved as the tribunal will hear the party's plea for interim relief on Wednesday. 

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