New Delhi: The income-tax department has sent a notice to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) seeking an explanation on allegations by a splinter group that it received funds from dubious sources. A similar notice has been served against the Congress.
The I-T department, which comes under finance minister Arun Jaitley, a key strategist for the BJP campaign in the Delhi election in which the party was wiped out, has asked the AAP to furnish its reply by February 16, two days after Arvind Kejriwal is scheduled to take oath as Delhi Chief Minister.
However, the I-T department said it had issued notices to 50 persons and entities, including two political parties, on February 9, a day before counting of votes in Delhi, to seek information about the identities of the contributors.
During the Delhi election, BJP leaders had attacked the AAP after AVAM, a breakaway group of the Kejriwal-led AAP, claimed shell companies with no net worth and profits had contributed four cheques of Rs 50 lakh each to the AAP at midnight, April 15, last year. AAP said that it had also sought a probe into the allegations.
Responding to the I-T notice to the AAP, an AAP spokesperson said, “The funding of other parties should also be thoroughly probed.”
AAP spokesperson Atishi Marlena said the notice was sent to the party’s Patel Nagar office by the I-T department.
“We are open to any probe by the income-tax department. We want this issue to be probed so that this allegation can be put to rest. But while welcoming the probe, we also want an SIT to probe political funding of all political parties and not just AAP,” she said.
“If the companies were dubious there should be an independent investigation to probe the companies as well. We will respond to the notice as we have nothing to hide and there is no fault of ours. How does one verify the address of a company which does not exist? We had received cheques,” she said.
“It is not the job of the party to verify the addresses since it does not issue cheque books, which are mostly delivered at residences or offices,” she added.