The Trinamool Congress has received a showcause notice from the Income Tax department on alleged irregularities in the party’s audit reports regarding expenses incurred during the run-up to the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, said sources.
According to sources close to TMC chief Mamata Banerjee, the I-T department in April sent “a notice to the party citing discrepancies in the party’s expenditure in the run-up to the 2014 elections in the Punjab and Haryana chapter of the party.”
The TMC fielded candidates from two seats in Haryana — Kurukshetra and Rohtak — in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. Both the candidates were defeated.
Ahead of the polls, the party opened its office in Chandigarh in June 2012. The office was inaugurated by senior TMC leader Mukul Roy, who was accompanied by the party’s Rajya Sabha MP and industrialist K D Singh. Singh was given charge of the party’s affairs in Punjab and Haryana.
“The party had established offices in both Haryana and Chandigarh. The idea was for the party to play a larger national role and our campaign was focused on Mamata Banerjee’s pro-poor policies and her persona,” said the source.
“At that time, K D Singh was in charge of the expenditure. Now, even the Bengal government is investigating charges of financial irregularities (against him). But the finance ministry’s argument is that the expenditure was done in the name of TMC. Moreover, Singh continues to be a TMC MP. So the party has been asked to give a clarification,” said the source.
Since 2014, the relationship between Singh and Mamata has soured considerably.
In March, the Kolkata police formed an SIT to probe allegations of cheating investors against three companies of Alchemist Group, owned by Singh. The companies had allegedly duped investors of Rs 2.53 crore. The SIT was formed soon after Singh’s name was linked to the Narada sting.
Later, Mamata, in a television interview, described the decision to make Singh an MP as a “blunder”.
Mamata is yet to issue an official reaction to the I-T notice. On Tuesday, following the raids on RJD chief Lalu Prasad and Karti Chidambaram, son of former Union Minister P Chidambaram, she accused the BJP-led central government of practicing “vendetta politics” against opposition leaders.
Earlier in May, AAP also received a showcause notice for alleged discrepancies in its account books and evading tax on donations received. “This is very similar to the notice received by TMC and the issue is likely to be discussed by Arvind Kejriwal and Mamata during their meeting on Wednesday,” said a TMC source.
Meanwhile, the I-T department denied allegations of political vendetta. “This is a routine showcause letter and it is not a personal attack on Mamata Banerjee or her party,” said an official in the I-T department.