Narendra Modi govt trying to make Congress party bankrupt, says AICC gen secy Venugopal

Congress alleges BJP's attempt to bankrupt party through tax penalties
AICC general secretary K C Venugopal
AICC general secretary K C Venugopal

Alappuzha (Kerala) | The Congress on Friday sharply reacted to the Income Tax Department's notice to the grand old party to pay a penalty of over Rs 1,750 crore and said the officials were being used as the "gundas" of the ruling BJP.

Addressing the media here, AICC general secretary in-charge of the organisation, K C Venugopal, lashed out at the Narendra Modi-led BJP government and accused it of trying to "financially strangulate" the opposition parties during the election time.

Venugopal said the Modi government was trying to make the Congress party bankrupt.

The Income Tax Department has served a notice to the Congress to pay over Rs 1750 crore, hours after the Delhi High Court had rejected its petitions challenging the tax reassessment proceedings against it.

"Usually, the political parties are exempted from paying taxes. However, this penalty is in the name of delay in filing returns. The Narendra Modi government is doing this with the specific purpose of bankrupting the Congress party at a time when we are facing elections," Venugopal said.

He said a nationwide protest will be held tomorrow and the day after as the BJP was "exploiting" the central agencies to target the opposition parties.

"They are attacking the opposition parties using the government mechanism. This is a move to butcher democracy," Venugopal added.

He also claimed that the BJP too has not paid any returns, but they were safe from IT Department notices.

"Our accounts were freezed earlier and now our funds have been blocked. The BJP regime is exploiting the government machinery to target the main opposition party as they know that they will face a huge setback in the upcoming elections," he said.

Venugopal said as per the notice, the Congress has been asked to pay Rs 1076.35 crore as penalty and Rs 692 crore as interest.

The Delhi High Court on Thursday rejected petitions by the Congress challenging the initiation of tax reassessment proceedings against it for a period of four years by tax authorities.

The High Court said that the pleas were dismissed in terms of its earlier decision refusing to interfere with the opening of reassessment for another period.

The present matter pertained to the assessment years 2017 to 2021.

In the earlier petition, which was dismissed last week, the Congress party had challenged initiation of reassessment proceedings pertaining to the assessment years 2014-15 to 2016-17.

On March 22, the high court, while rejecting those pleas, said that the tax authority had prima facie collated "substantial and concrete" evidence warranting further scrutiny and examination.

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