Congress’ Plea to Halt Income Tax Department’s Bank Account Actions Rejected

The Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT) dealt a significant blow to the Congress party as it dismissed the party’s plea seeking a stay against the Income Tax Department’s actions to recover and freeze its bank accounts. Senior Advocate Vivek Tamkha, representing the Congress, urged the tribunal to delay the order for ten days, allowing the party to approach the High Court. However, the bench rejected this request, citing the absence of such provisions or prayers before them.

Vivek Tankha, also the Congress legal cell head, expressed deep disappointment with the ITAT’s order, noting it didn’t align with its past precedents. He stated that the party is exploring all legal avenues in response to the ITAT’s order and will imminently move to the high court.

Congress Alleges Financial Terrorism by BJP

In response to the development, Congress leader Ajay Maken condemned the ITAT’s freezing of the party’s funds, branding it as an assault on democracy, especially preceding national elections. Reiterating its accusations of central agency misuse by the BJP, Congress labeled the tax demand as politically motivated. It asserted that the timing of the tax demand aimed to disrupt the party’s election preparations. Moreover, Congress accused the BJP government of engaging in financial terrorism and aiming to debilitate its primary opposition.

Tax Dispute Background

On February 16, Congress publicly disclosed the freezing of its bank accounts by the Income Tax department due to a dispute over a tax demand totaling Rs 210 crore. While the Income Tax department didn’t issue an official statement regarding its actions against the Congress’ bank accounts, official sources maintained it was a routine procedure for individuals or entities failing to pay income tax dues.

Subsequently, Congress alleged that the Income Tax department withdrew Rs 65 crore from its accounts in various banks, denouncing the act as undemocratic. This withdrawal occurred despite ongoing legal proceedings concerning the Congress’ income tax returns from previous years.

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