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Wednesday 8 April 2020

Charges against AAP funding completely baseless: Sisodia

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New Delhi: Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia today asserted that AAP receives its donations only from ‘aam aadmi’ (common man), adding that the I-T notice questioning its funding was sent after Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s appeal to people of poll-bound Gujarat to vote out the BJP.

His reaction came a day after the Income Tax department charged the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) with taking “hawala entries” worth Rs 2 crore from a Delhi-based operative even as it revoked the tax exemption, given to it for being a political party, for the assessment year 2015-16.

Addressing a press conference here, Sisodia, who had brought voluminous documents containing the donors list, said the charges against the AAP funding were completely “baseless” and that the party would take all necessary steps to demolish the claims made by the Income Tax department.

Citing the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) reports, the minister claimed the BJP and the Congress had the highest percentage of unaccounted donations.

“This is an attempt to muzzle the voice of the AAP. The notice was sent after Kejriwal’s appeal to the people of Gujarat to vote against the BJP in the upcoming state assembly polls,” he said.

Addressing party volunteers on AAP’s 5th Foundation Day on November 26, Kejriwal had appealed to the voters of Gujarat to vote out the BJP, which has been in power in the state for nearly 22 years.Interestingly, the AAP got the I-T notice on November 23.

The taxman, according to the penalty notice, had alleged that the Kejriwal-led party “incorrectly disclosed the hawala money as voluntary donations”.

The department had slapped the charges on the political party in its assessment order issued to it last week. It had determined the total taxable income of the AAP at Rs 68.44 crore, with a corresponding income tax of Rs 30.67 crore for the assessment year 2015-16.

“We challenge that there is no other party who maintains the list of its donations as diligently as the Aam Aadmi Party. The donations, it has received, are from the ‘aam aadmi’ and not from any hawala operator,” Sisodia said.

Kejriwal had yesterday termed the notice as “height of political vendetta”.

The AAP is contesting on limited seats in Gujarat, where elections are slated for December 9 and December 14 in two phases.

Party sources said it had received Rs 130 crore since its formation, and got the maximum donation of Rs 54.14 crore in 2014-15, the time when the party contested the 2014 Lok Sabha polls and 2015 Delhi Assembly polls.

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