HomeWhat's TrendingTax Tribunal Provides Relief to Congress, Allows Operation of 'Frozen' Accounts

Tax Tribunal Provides Relief to Congress, Allows Operation of ‘Frozen’ Accounts

In a dramatic turn of events, Congress Treasurer Ajay Maken’s announcement of the freezing of the party’s bank accounts sent shockwaves through the political arena. However, relief came swiftly as the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal clarified that while there would be a lien on the accounts, there would be no restrictions on the party operating them.

Rajya Sabha MP and lawyer Vivek Tankha, who represented the Congress party before the tax tribunal, disclosed the development after appearing before the bench in Delhi. Tankha argued that the freezing of accounts could hamper the party’s ability to participate in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, raising concerns about financial constraints affecting various political activities.

The tax tribunal, in response, assured Tankha that the freezing of accounts would only result in a lien, emphasising that the Congress party could continue its operations without hindrance. Tankha also revealed that the hearing on the merits of the case is scheduled for Wednesday.

Earlier today, Ajay Maken addressed a press conference, revealing that not only the Congress party’s accounts but also those of the Youth Congress had been frozen. Maken expressed the immediate impact of this freeze on the party’s financial capabilities, affecting essential expenditures such as electricity bills and employee salaries.

Maken stated, ‘We got information yesterday that banks are not honouring the cheques we are issuing. On further investigation, we found out that the Youth Congress bank accounts have been frozen. The accounts of the Congress party have also been seized.’ He went on to highlight the Income Tax Department’s demand for a recovery of ₹ 210 crore from both the Youth Congress and the Congress party.

The freezing of bank accounts comes at a critical juncture, just weeks before the Lok Sabha elections. Maken raised concerns about the broader implications, stating, ‘Just two weeks before elections, when the Opposition’s accounts are frozen, it is equivalent to freezing democracy.’

This development adds another layer of complexity to the political landscape, particularly in the wake of the Supreme Court’s recent decision to scrap the Centre’s electoral bonds scheme, deeming it unconstitutional. The court mandated the disclosure of donors, amounts, and recipients of electoral bonds by March 13, further emphasising the need for transparency in political funding. As the Congress party faces financial challenges, the upcoming hearing on Wednesday will be closely watched, as it could have far-reaching implications on the party’s electoral participation.

Monika Shanmugam