Will take action against those who have disrobed democracy: Rahul Gandhi

Congress MP also accuses the BJP of indulging in "tax terrorism" in X post, tags older video with the hashtag #BJPTaxTerrorism

Rahul Gandhi with Mallikarjun Kharge and other party leaders (photo: bharatjodonyayyatra.com)
Rahul Gandhi with Mallikarjun Kharge and other party leaders (photo: bharatjodonyayyatra.com)


Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge and Rajya Sabha MP Rahul Gandhi have once again accused the BJP-led Centre of misusing institutions like the income tax department, ED (Enforcement Directorate) and CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) to subvert democracy and belittle the Constitution, and asked why is the I-T department being used as a weapon to harass the principal opposition party.

Accusing the BJP of indulging in "tax terrorism", Gandhi wrote in an X post in Hindi, "When the government changes, action will definitely be taken against those who have disrobed democracy. And such exemplary action will be taken that no one will dare to do all this again. This is my guarantee." He also tagged a previous video of his and used the hashtag #BJPTaxTerrorism with his post.

Kharge asserted that such actions would not deter the Congress from contesting the upcoming Lok Sabha polls, and vowed that his party would free the country's institutions from the BJP's "dictatorship".

Kharge said a penalty of Rs 4,600 crore has been "overlooked" for the BJP's Rs 42 crore unaccounted deposits, while a penalty of Rs 135 crore is being demanded for the Congress' Rs 14 lakh cash deposits by MLAs and MPs.

"Who is pressurising the income tax department to act in this unjustified manner only against the Opposition? Why is the I-T department being allowed to be used as a weapon to harass the principal Opposition party — the Congress? They are misusing institutions like IT, ED, CBI to subvert democracy and belittle the Constitution," Kharge wrote in his own X post.

Citing examples, Kharge said the I-T department has now given a notice to the Congress for a total amount of Rs 1,823 crore, and already withdrawn Rs 135 crore from the party's accounts, which were funds collected by the party through crowdsourcing.

"But I-T did not give any notice to the BJP. Despite the fact that public information from the Election Commission clearly shows that 1,297 people deposited Rs 42 crore to the BJP in 2017-18 without mentioning their names and addresses," Kharge claimed.

The Congress chief said his party was fined Rs 135 crore for Rs 14 lakh deposits and its account was frozen. "But in the last 7 years, the penalty for the BJP amounts to a whopping Rs 4,600 crore," he claimed. "Our direct question is, why is the BJP getting this penalty exemption?"

He also asked, "Do these IT notices dating many years ago being served right before the Lok Sabha elections prove BJP's conspiracy to alter the level playing field?"

Citing details, he said a penalty of Rs 54 crore was imposed by the I-T authorities for the year 1993-94, Rs 182 crore for 2016-17, Rs 179 crore for 2017-18, Rs 918 crore for 2018-19 and Rs 480 crore for 2019-20. "Congress persons are never afraid! We will fight the elections with our full might. We will free the country's institutions from BJP dictatorship," Kharge said.

Accusing the government of indulging in "tax terrorism", Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh said for alleged violations committed in the last six years, the opposition party was served a notice for Rs 1,823 crore. "For those very same violations, in the very same time period, the BJP should have been slapped with notices for Rs 4,600 crore.

"All that (Congress treasurer) Ajay Maken did was to use R programming language to drill down the data submitted by the BJP itself, which is available publicly on the ECI's website. We have attached the code to this tweet.

"It follows that either the khatabandi (freeze) on the INC accounts is unjustified and a blatant misuse of government agencies, or that the IT department is willfully neglecting the BJP's fraudulent practices," Ramesh said in yet another post on X.

The Congress on Friday said it has received fresh notices from the income-tax department, asking it to pay Rs 1,823.08 crore, and alleged that the BJP is in "serious violation" of income-tax laws for which authorities should raise a demand for more than Rs 4,600 crore from the saffron party.

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Published: 29 Mar 2024, 7:08 PM