Congress Bank Accounts Frozen, IT Action Against Rules: Electoral Panel-Court Silent; Congress Reacts

Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge, along with Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, and Ajay Maken, held a press conference at the Delhi party headquarters on Thursday morning at 11:30 a.m. 

The leaders raised the issue of freezing of Congress party’s bank accounts just ahead of the Lok Sabha elections. They questioned how fair and impartial elections could be conducted when our accounts are frozen.

Mallikarjun Kharge’s Statement on Electoral Bond Controversy

Mallikarjun Kharge emphasized the criticality of impartiality in the announcement of Lok Sabha elections, stating that it’s imperative for democracy that elections are conducted fairly, providing equal opportunities to all political parties. 

He argued against any control by independent bodies such as the Enforcement Directorate (ED), Income Tax department (IT), or other autonomous institutions, stressing the need for transparency. Kharge further criticized the damaging effects on the nation’s image due to recent revelations surrounding electoral bonds.

Regarding the controversy, Kharge pointed out the apparent contradiction in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) depositing thousands of crores of rupees into its own bank accounts under the guise of the electoral bond scheme, which the Supreme Court has deemed unconstitutional and arbitrary. 

On the other hand, he highlighted the freezing of the main opposition party Congress’s bank accounts, which hampers their ability to contest elections on an equal footing due to financial constraints. Kharge warned against the dangerous precedent set by such actions orchestrated by the ruling party.

Sonia Gandhi’s Critique on Freezing of Party Accounts

Sonia Gandhi expressed concern over the ongoing attempts to freeze Congress’s bank accounts before the elections, labeling it as an assault on democracy. 

She highlighted the recent month, during which the party has been unable to utilize its ₹285 crore. Gandhi questioned how democracy could thrive if the party is rendered incapable of functioning.

Rahul Gandhi’s Assertion on Freezing of Congress Party Accounts

Rahul Gandhi voiced his concerns regarding the freezing of Congress party’s bank accounts, stating that neither the courts nor the Election Commission have taken any action in this regard. He emphasized that no explanations have been provided, leaving 20% of the nation’s population distressed. 

Gandhi affirmed that they represent these people and their interests. He questioned how democracy can thrive in a country where the largest opposition party’s bank accounts are sealed, raising serious questions about the state of democracy in the nation.

Politicians Engage in Dangerous Game

Kharge highlighted that the electoral donation bonds, deemed unconstitutional and arbitrary by the Supreme Court, are currently being used by the ruling party to accumulate funds exceeding thousands of crores in their own accounts. 

On the contrary, the main opposition party’s bank accounts have been frozen under dubious circumstances, crippling their ability to contest elections on equal footing due to financial constraints. This maneuver by the ruling party poses a significant threat, as it jeopardizes democracy’s survival, emphasizing the necessity for equality to safeguard democracy.

The BJP fails to disclose how funds are obtained from certain companies, with no mention of it in their declarations. As the Supreme Court investigates this matter, I hope that the truth will be revealed soon. 

I appeal to regulatory bodies that if they desire free and fair elections, they should allow us access to our bank accounts. No political party should be exempt from scrutiny.

Sonia Gandhi’s Assertion on Attempts to Cripple Congress

Sonia Gandhi stated that there are ongoing attempts to financially cripple the Congress party, which she perceives as an assault on democracy. She questioned how the Congress party could engage in election campaigning if it is unable to spend any funds. 

Over the past month alone, they have been unable to utilize their ₹285 crore. She emphasized that if they are rendered incapable of functioning in any way, how can democracy sustain itself?

Rahul Gandhi’s Statement on Lack of Court Intervention

Rahul Gandhi remarked that neither the courts nor the Election Commission have made any statements regarding the freezing of Congress party’s bank accounts. He emphasized that in this scenario, there is no semblance of democracy.

Jairam’s Statement on Electoral Bond Donations Linked to ₹4 Lakh Crore Contracts

Jairam Ramesh stated that electoral bond donations worth ₹4000-8000 crore are directly linked to contracts worth ₹4 lakh crore. He mentioned that they would provide the relevant data to you shortly.

Ajay Maken’s Remark on Electoral Bonds

Congress leader Ajay Maken expressed the seriousness of the issues they are facing. He emphasized that not only has Congress not been affected by these matters alone, but democracy itself is under threat. Funds are being forcefully withdrawn from our accounts. 

In this situation, we are making our best efforts. Therefore, we can campaign in elections. The maximum benefit of electoral bonds is only for the BJP. This is the fight of the people. If you don’t support us, then neither you nor we will save democracy.

Income Tax Tribunal Lifts Freeze on Congress Bank Accounts

On February 16, the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal lifted the ban on freezing Congress party’s bank accounts, which had been imposed earlier in the day at 12:30 PM. Just an hour before this decision, Congress had alleged that the party’s bank accounts were being frozen. 

Ajay Maken, the Congress National Treasurer, stated in a press conference on Friday that the Income Tax Department has demanded a recovery of Rs. 210 crores from the Youth Congress and Congress party.

Niyati Rao

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