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Delhi HC fixed Feb 28 for hearing PIL against Cong, BJP

PTI | Last Updated: Wednesday, February 5, 2014 - 13:55

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Wednesday fixed for hearing on February 28 a PIL seeking a probe against Congress and BJP for allegedly received fundings from UK-based Vedanta Resources in violation of various laws.

"The pleadings are complete. The matter has been received on transfer. List it for hearing on February 28," a bench headed by Justice Pradeep Nandrajog said.

Prashant Bhushan, appearing for NGO Association for Democratic Reforms, said the Ministry of Home Affairs in its reply has "factually admitted the position" that the fundings came to these parties from a UK-based company Vedanta.
"They have only said that the company, though registered in UK, is owned by an Indian, Anil Aggarwal, who has got around 60 per cent stake in that," he said, adding the facts in the issue are very limited so it be heard on the next date.

The PIL, which came up for hearing before this bench after being transferred from another bench, also sought confiscation of funds allegedly received from abroad by the two parties in violation of Indian laws.

Earlier, the court had issued notices to the political parties, Ministry of Home Affairs and the Election Commission on the PIL filed by the NGO and E A S Sarma, a former Secretary of the Government of India.

The PIL has sought a direction for a "court-monitored investigation by SIT or the CBI into the violation of foreign funding and other laws by major political parties, corporate groups and PSUs."

It has alleged that the two political parties have violated the Representation of People`s Act and the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA) by taking donations from government companies and foreign sources, which is prohibited under both the legislations.

The petition alleged that UK-based Vedanta Resources and
its subsidiary companies in India, including Sterlite Industries, Sesa Goa and Malco "have donated several crores of rupees to major political parties like the INC and the BJP".

The PIL has also alleged that according to Vedanta`s annual report of 2012, it had made political donations to the tune of USD 2.01 million either through a trust or directly in respect of the Indian general elections.

"Sterlite`s annual report (of 2011-2012) also states that during the year the Group made political donations in India, of Rs 5 crore either through trust or directly," it claimed.

The PIL has sought directions to the Centre to "initiate action against the major political parties and corporate groups under FCRA and to confiscate the illegal donations under the supervision of the high court."

It also sought an order directing the Centre to "cancel the income tax exemption given to political parties and corporate groups for donations made in violation of the law of the land".

First Published: Wednesday, February 5, 2014 - 13:55
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