INDIA. Mumbai: In continuation of its raids to curb bogus donations, the Income Tax (IT) Dept conducted raids on over 50 smaller political parties involved in laundering cash received in the guise of donations, thus evading tax, across the country on Wednesday and Thursday.
Income tax officials conducted the raids in Maharashtra, Delhi, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, and Karnataka. Donations totalling over Rs 2,000 crore are under the scanner, officials said.
The raids are being conducted based on the information provided by the Election Commission of India (ECI) to the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) in June. The CBDT has recommended action against political parties claiming income tax exemptions but flouted rules, including filing details of the monetary contributions they received and updating the address and names of their office bearers, official sources said.
Political parties show the receipt of donations on paper for the commission they receive to help the donors convert the black money.
In a raid on the Janatawadi Congress Party (JCP) office, IT noted that the party had received Rs 70 crore to Rs 80 crore donations between 2014-2022. The office of the JCP is located in a slum at Chunabhatti in North East Mumbai. The “National President” of the JCP is Santosh Katke, who has been residing at the Sion Transit camp for the last 20 years. He has taken office near Chunabhatti railway station on rent.
The income tax department checked all the documents to find the donors who donated money to him and how he accounted for it. Later Katke told the media that the IT department was implicating him, and the IT raided his office after he sent all documents to the ECI.
Similarly, the IT department raided the offices of 7 other political parties in Mumbai. In Borivali in North Mumbai, IT came across a small unrecognized Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel Party, which received a Rs 50 crore donation. Surprisingly the Jantawadi Congress Party and Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel Party had appointed the same chartered accountant and reference number in their letter sent to the ECI.
In Aurangabad, the IT raided three places, including the Mid Day Meal Delivery run by one Satish Vyas involved in financial irregularities.
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