Weeks after the Delhi High Court held the Congress and the BJP guilty of receiving funds from “foreign sources” in violation of the FCRA and Representation of People Act norms, the Central government informed the High Court that a similar complaint against the Aam Aadmi Party was not as yet substantiated.
However, the Home Ministry affidavit made it clear that the donations shown by the AAP to the Election Commission had named eight persons residing in a foreign country, who were then found to be holding Indian passports and were not to be counted as a “foreign source” under the two Acts.
The MHA affidavit informed the court that a list of contributions in excess of Rs 20,000 in 2012-13 filed by the AAP had revealed that eight persons with foreign addresses have made donations to the party. These persons have been shown to be possessing Indian passports, which implies that they cannot be seen as “unlawful” contributions.
“NRIs holding Indian passports are not a foreign source,” the affidavit said. The court of chief Justice G Rohini and Justice R S Endlaw has now directed the Central government to continue to look into the sources of finances of the AAP. The government has also been directed to file another affidavit in the matter.
In his petition, advocate M L Sharma had alleged that the AAP, before its creation as a political party, had received unauthorised payments from the Ford Foundation, a US-based NGO. Sharma had also alleged that the political party had also received money from abroad, in violation of the RP Act and the FCRA. In its affidavit on Wednesday, the government also noted that though several notices had been sent by the Election Commission, the donor details had not been made available for a large number of donors. It said the MHA was waiting for a response from the party headquarters. “The bank records do not reveal whether the source is domestic or foreign,” the affidavit said.