New Delhi [India], February 22 (ANI):Raising concerns over the withdrawal of Rs 65 crore "undemocratically" from the Congress' bank accounts by the income tax department, party leader Ajay Maken said that despite the sub judice nature of the matter, the Congress party is facing an unprecedented demand of Rs 210 crore when there is a common practice for National Political Parties to pay no income tax.

Highlighting that neither the Congress nor the BJP pays income tax, Maken in a post on X, said that their hopes now lie with the Judiciary.

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"Yesterday, the Income Tax Department mandated banks to transfer over Rs65 crores from INC India, IYC, and NSUI accounts to the government--Rs5 crores from IYC and NSUI, and Rs60.25 crores from INC, marking a concerning move by the BJP Government," he said.

"Is it common for National Political Parties to pay Income Tax? No," he added.

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"Does the BJP pay Income Tax? No," Ajay Maken asked.

He continued to ask that why is the Congress Party facing an unprecedented demand of Rs210 crores?

He pointed out that this undemocratic act poses a threat to the country's multi-party system.

"This situation raises a crucial question about the state of democracy. Is it under threat?, he said in his post on X.

"During today's ITAT proceedings, we presented our case. The hearing is set to continue tomorrow. The funds in question were raised through grassroots efforts, including crowdfunding and membership drives by the IYC and NSUI. This situation raises a crucial question about the state of democracy. Is it under threat? Our hope now lies with the judiciary," Maken added.

The hearing on Congress complaint in Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT) against recovery of the outstanding tax due of Rs 65 crore from INC's account will resume on Thursday.

Meanwhile, the Income Tax Department on Wednesday submitted before the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT) that they acted with responsibility and their action was fully in line with the law to obtain demand drafts of Rs 65 crore from the bank accounts of Congress party.

Advocate Zoheb Hossain, the counsel for the Income Tax Department, defended the decision to recover the amount and submitted that there has been a breach of rules by Congress and, in such a scenario, the entity must be treated as a normal assesse.

The counsel told the Tribunal that they were ready to give an undertaking if Congress wins the case. "We are ready to give back the amount assured," he said.

He submitted that on July 6, 2021, the first notice of recovery was given. He said the Congress party filed an appeal for a complete stay on October 28, 2021, but for this, they had to deposit 20 per cent of the dues as per IT Act. He said they were requested to pay 20 per cent of the demand but it was not done.

"On January 9, 2023, we sent another letter seeking payment for outstanding demand. We received an email from Congress seeking an adjournment only. Over a period of four years their conduct was not to pay," he said.

In the complaint, Congress said the Income Tax Department has enforced its law by encashing some of the balances lying with the banks without waiting for the outcome of the hearing scheduled before the bench.

Congress appealed that the department should not proceed further till the disposal of the stay application. (ANI)

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