The Maharashtra unit of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) has come under the scanner of the Income Tax department after it recently detected cash deposits of over Rs 34 crore in the party's account without depositor details like PAN card.
The I-T's investigation unit in Mumbai issued summons to the party to furnish documents and relevant details to it after the taxman detected the movement of funds in the NCP's account in the Bank of Maharashtra Nariman Point branch between April 1, 2013-April 21, 2014.The inquiry, official sources said, has been made part of the Election Commission (EC) mandated expenditure protocols in view of the ongoing polls.
The I-T raised a query as none of the deposits prima facie reflect the Know Your Customer (KYC) details required for such cash deposits, like Permanent Account Number (PAN) or other banking details of the depositors, sources added.The total cash deposits during the same period have been found to be at Rs 34.75 crore.
In its reply, NCP's Chartered Accountant firm in Mumbai -- U G Devi and Co -- said that the deposits "represent the collections made by the party from the various district and constituencies in Maharashtra by way of coupons which are in the denominations of Rs 1,000, Rs 500 and Rs 100." Under current rules, political parties have to furnish vital details of depositors and donors like PAN, bank account number and addresses in case the cash amount is above Rs 20,000.
The CA firm has asked I-T authorities for time till the first week of June to provide its explanation as at present the rank and file of NCP is busy with polls. "The collections from various individuals/well-wishers of the party are made under the supervision of office bearers and district and elected representatives.
"Coupon booklets are issued to the party functionaries for raising donations from the party's well-wishers. All collections are in small denominations, i.e. Rs 1,000, Rs 500 and Rs 100, taken from various individuals in the various districts of the state."No amount exceeding Rs 20,000 from a single individual is taken hence there are no PAN, account numbers, bank details which can be furnished," the CA firm said in its reply to the summons issued on April 17 under Section 131 of the I-T Act (Power regarding discovery, production of evidence).
The CA firm has said it will take time to collect all the details after correlating all the contributions received from each district with the coupons issued by NCP. Sources in the I-T department said that the time as sought had been granted to the party.
Reacting to the development, an NCP spokesperson said in Mumbai that all the deposits in the party's bank account were "in order" and it would soon give details to the Income Tax department. "All our bank deposits are accounted for. They are from our party workers, people's representatives and the public," NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik told PTI.
"We are going to explain in detail (to I-T authorities) about the bank deposits," Malik said.