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Aam Aadmi Party, Congress get IT notice over funding

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New Delhi, Feb 11 (IANS) The Income Tax Department has served notice on the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) seeking an explanation on charges of receiving funds from dubious sources as alleged by a splinter group — a charge that has already been denied by the party.

A similar notice has also been served on the Congress party, a Congress spokesperson told IANS.

The department, that functions under the Central Board of Direct Taxes(CBDT) of the ministry of finance, has asked the party to furnish its reply by Feb 16 — two days after Arvind Kejriwal is scheduled to take oath as Delhi chief minister following a stunning win in the Feb 7 Delhi assembly polls.

The notice, addressed to the Principal Officer Aam Aadmi Party, said four companies had transferred money to AAP and "enquiries revealed that such companies are not prima facie genuine. The companies and the directors are not available at the addresses mentioned in the bank and government agencies".

The notice was sent Feb 9, a day before the results of the Delhi polls were announced. The AAP, in a massive mandate, won 67 out of 70 seats in the Delhi assembly.

In the run-up to the elections, union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had alleged that the AAP was caught red-handed in receiving dubious funds from companies that did not have any business, and accused its leadership of adopting diversionary tactics to deflect attention.

He said such donations amounted to Rs.2 crore through cheques of Rs.50 lakh each from four firms.

The AAP had protested such allegations.

"Mr. Finance Minister. Stop throwing muck. Act. Arrest me if i am guilty," Kejriwal had tweeted. "Fin min (finance minister) says we took hawala money. Hawala money in cheques? I dare Fin min to arrest me if we took hawala money."

Kejriwal had also written to Chief Justice of India H.L. Dattu and urged him to set up a special probe team to probe not just his party but also the BJP and the Congress for the Delhi elections.

The Congress party said it has also received a similar missive from the IT Department.

"Yes, we have been served a notice. It is clearly a sign of political vendetta. Let me ask: Why has a similar notice not been served on BJP? Why single us and the AAP out. BJP has also spent crores of rupees on elections," a party spokesperson told IANS.

At a press conference here last week, the AAP Volunteer Action Manch (AVAM), a breakaway group of the party, had questioned the sources of funding for the Kejriwal-led party and alleged some of it could be sourced to what it described as "fraud" companies.

It claimed the money had been donated on the midnight of April 15 last year.

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