• Notification Date: 23-02-2024
  • Notification No: N/A

Congress writes to ITAT after I-T Dept seizes Rs 65 crore from INC's Account

The Congress party on Wednesday moved the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT) against the recovery of Rs 65 crore from the account of the Indian National Congress. The Income Tax Department on Tuesday recovered Rs 65 crore from the INC account of the total outstanding tax dues of Rs 115 crore.

The Congress said the Income Tax Department has enforced its lein by encashing some of the balances lying with the banks without waiting for the outcome of the hearing scheduled before the bench, news agency ANI reported. 

Congress further said that the department should not proceed further till the disposal of the stay application. ITAT has directed that the status quo be maintained till the matter is heard. The matter has been listed for 2.30 pm on Wednesday, ANI reported.

Last week, Congress treasurer and senior leader Ajay Maken alleged that the Income Tax Department has frozen the four bank accounts of the party and the Youth Congress, and a demand of Rs 210 crore has been raised in connection with the income tax return case of 2018-19.

The IT Department, on its part, informed the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT) that it has not frozen the Congress’s bank accounts but only asked for a lien on the amount according to an earlier demand. 

The Congress said that the IT Department has demanded that the party ensure that Rs 115 crore has to be kept in the banks. “This Rs 115 crore is the lien marked in the bank accounts. We can spend an amount over and above that. This means that Rs 115 crore has been frozen. This Rs 115 crore is much more than we have in our current account,” Congress leader Ajay Maken wrote on X.

In the last hearing in ITAT, the party had sought a stay on the alleged attachment of the bank accounts by the Income Tax Department. 

ITAT bench overseeing the case said: “It comes up from the learned Special Counsel for the Revenue, who was assisted by the Assessing Officer, that the Revenue does not claim to have issued any order or direction to the concerned bank(s) for freezing the transactions in the bank account(s), but only for a lien on the amount lying in the bank account(s) up to the outstanding tax demand.”

The matter goes back to 2018-19 when Congress filed the ITR late. Based on the assessment, a demand of Rs 103 crore was raised. Payment delays resulted in increased interest. 

Aggrieved by the assessment, the All India Congress Committee (AICC) moved the first level of appeal to CIT (A). The rule says an assessee needs to pay 20 per cent of the outstanding amount before the matter is taken up. However, AICC paid Rs 78 lakh against the requirement of Rs 21 crore. 

But Congress'appeal was dismissed and the demand was revised to Rs 104 crore. In May 2023, the Congress moved a second appeal before the Delhi bench of ITAT. Till date, the party has made a total payment of Rs 2.50 crore, as per Hindu Businessline.