Congress Gets New Rs 1,700-Crore I-T Notice, Says Govt Using 'Tax Terrorism'

The Income Tax department has issued a new notice to the Congress party, demanding Rs 1,700 crore in taxes due to discrepancies in their tax returns for previous years. This notice comes on top of a previous penalty of Rs 200 crore and freezing of their funds.

Representational Image | Photo: PTI

The Income Tax department has dealt another blow to the Congress party by serving a fresh notice amounting to Rs 1,700 crore on Friday due to discrepancies in tax returns for previous years.

The tax penalties, along with interest, stem from irregularities in tax filings spanning from 2017-18 to 2020-21. The party received the fresh notice earlier this week, further exacerbating its financial woes.

Congress is already grappling with financial constraints after the Income Tax authorities imposed a hefty penalty of Rs 200 crore and froze its funds. Despite its efforts, the party did not secure any respite from the High Court and is now approaching the Supreme Court for relief.

Meanwhile, the Congress party, in a response to the Income Tax Department's notice has accused the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of using government agencies as "gundas" to financially strangle opposition parties.

Addressing the media, AICC general secretary K C Venugopal launched a scathing attack on the Narendra Modi-led government, alleging a deliberate attempt to bankrupt the Congress ahead of elections.

Venugopal stated that the timing of the penalty notice, following the Delhi High Court's dismissal of Congress petitions challenging tax reassessment proceedings, reeks of political vendetta.

"While political parties are typically exempt from taxes, this penalty is allegedly due to delayed filing of returns. It's a blatant move by the Modi government to cripple the Congress financially, especially when elections are looming," he emphasised.

In response to the notice, the Congress plans to stage a nationwide protest, condemning what it sees as the BJP's exploitation of central agencies to target opposition parties. Venugopal asserted that the BJP itself has escaped similar scrutiny, highlighting what he perceives as a biased approach by the Income Tax Department.

"Our accounts were previously frozen, and now our funds are blocked. This relentless targeting by the BJP regime is a clear abuse of governmental machinery to suppress the main opposition party, fearing a significant setback in the upcoming elections," Venugopal said.

Also, Congress MP Jairam Ramesh stated, "The electoral bond scam was done through different routes- prepaid bribe route, postpaid bribe route, post-raid group, and there was a shell company group. Congress treasurer Ajay Maken has analysed the data available on the ECI website filed by the BJP, using a high-level programming language called R... This is tax terrorism, and this is being used to attack the Congress..."

This comes a day after Delhi High Court refused the Congress' request to stop the tax office from re-evaluating its taxes for four years.