A Sigh of Relief! ITAT Temporarily Releases Congress’s Bank Account


In a temporary relief to the Congress party on Friday, the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT) permitted the operation of its frozen bank accounts with a lien imposed by the Income Tax department.

Rajya Sabha MP and advocate Vivek Tankha, representing the Congress before the ITAT bench in Delhi, expressed gratitude for what he termed as a “gracious hearing”. Tankha elucidated that the ITAT emphasized the absence of any restriction on the bank accounts, clarifying that only a lien was placed.

“Very graciously, the ITAT has said that there will be only a lien on the bank account. There is no restriction on the bank account. You can operate and then they will hear me on the merits of the case on the interim application that I filed on Wednesday. I’m grateful to the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal for this gracious hearing,” Tankha stated.

“And number two, as I said before the Tribunal, I’m repeating, Justice Kapadia, Chief Justice of India, would always say that the first opportunity of an SEC, of an independent hearing, only comes when it goes before ITAT. And today that we had seen,” he added.

In a video shared on X, Tankha expounded on the arguments he presented before the bench during the hearing.

“All bank accounts of Congress Party of the AICC have been frozen, which means in the coming festival of elections, the largest, one of the largest stakeholders will not be able to participate. We will not be able to take up any expenditure whatsoever, whether it is the movement of vehicles, people, yatra, or anything at all connected with these elections. The court heard me for some time,” Tankha said.

“It also, I said, we have a very good case on facts. We had filed a return on time. It is being misconstrued and only for that reason, we can’t be punished disproportionately,” he added.

“Number two, our revenues for that particular year were 198 crores and we spent admissible expenditure that was incurred was 197 crores and how a taxation of 130 or 115 odd crores has been made on us with interest coming to 135 crores. I said, it is all I would like to argue on merits, but today protect the party, protect democracy, and allow us to operate a bank account,” the Rajya Sabha MP said.

Responding to the ITAT’s ruling, Congress general secretary Ajay Makan clarified that the Income Tax Department and ITAT have specified that Rs. 115 crores must be maintained in the bank accounts as a lien, allowing expenditures beyond that amount.

Earlier, Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge criticized the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led central government for the alleged freezing of the party’s bank accounts by the Income Tax department. Kharge asserted the party’s determination to oppose what it sees as government autocracy, calling for judicial intervention to safeguard India’s democratic principles.

Former Karnataka Chief Minister, HD Kumaraswamy, expressed uncertainty about the reasons behind the central government institutions’ actions, citing similar freezes on individual bank accounts within the democratic system.

BJP leader CN Ashwath Narayan accused the Congress party of attempting to politicize the situation, emphasizing that everyone must abide by the law. Narayan dismissed what he perceived as baseless political statements from the Congress, alleging their history of dubious fundraising methods.

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About the Author: Nunnem Gangte