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New Delhi: The Congress party on Thursday slammed the Centre after over 65 crore rupees were deducted from its accounts by the Income Tax department. Addressing a press conference, Congress General Secretary KC Venugopal heavily criticized the BJP government and accused it of “financial terrorism.”

“This is clearly financial terrorism imposed by the BJP government on the Congress party. According to the latest information from the banks, the BJP government compelled the banks to transfer approximately Rs. 65.89 crore from our deposits to the government,” said Venugopal.

He further added that the amount was deducted from the accounts of AICC, IYC, and NSUI. “Unlike the BJP, we acquired this money from ordinary workers of the party,” said Venugopal.

Venugopal alleged that withdrawal of money from the accounts just ahead of the parliamentary elections suggests that “they (BJP) are essentially stealing money from the bank.”

Congress Party President Mallikarjun Kharge also came down heavily on the ruling party and said, “an autocratic Modi Govt is capturing Democracy through Extortion and Financial Terrorism!”

Kharge accused the Modi government of stealing donation money from Congress and alleged that the BJP threatens corporate firms through ED, CBI, and IT. “On one hand, the Modi Govt wants to steal the hard-earned money of people donated to the Congress party in good faith, and on the other hand, it threatens corporate firms through ED, CBI, IT, etc., to grab a lion’s share of donations,” said Kharge.

Raising concerns over the withdrawal of Rs. 65 crore “undemocratically” from the Congress’ bank accounts by the income tax department, party leader Ajay Maken said that despite the sub judice nature of the matter, the Congress party is facing an unprecedented demand of Rs. 210 crore when there is a common practice for National Political Parties to pay no income tax.

Highlighting that neither the Congress nor the BJP pays income tax, Maken, in a post on X, said that their hopes now lie with the Judiciary.

“Yesterday, the Income Tax Department mandated banks to transfer over Rs65 crores from INC India, IYC, and NSUI accounts to the government–Rs5 crores from IYC and NSUI, and Rs60.25 crores from INC, marking a concerning move by the BJP Government,” he said.

“Is it common for National Political Parties to pay Income Tax? No,” he added.

“Does the BJP pay Income Tax? No,” Ajay Maken asked.

He continued to ask why the Congress Party is facing an unprecedented demand of Rs. 210 crores?

He pointed out that this undemocratic act poses a threat to the country’s multi-party system.

“This situation raises a crucial question about the state of democracy. Is it under threat?,” he said in his post on X.

“During today’s ITAT proceedings, we presented our case. The hearing is set to continue tomorrow. The funds in question were raised through grassroots efforts, including crowdfunding and membership drives by the IYC and NSUI. This situation raises a crucial question about the state of democracy. Is it under threat? Our hope now lies with the judiciary,” Maken added.

The hearing on Congress complaint in Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT) against recovery of the outstanding tax due of Rs. 65 crore from INC’s account will resume on Thursday.

Meanwhile, the Income Tax Department on Wednesday submitted before the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT) that they acted with responsibility and their action was fully in line with the law to obtain demand drafts of Rs. 65 crore from the bank accounts of Congress party.