Congress relents on audit report, submits it to EC

After resisting for close to an year, the Congress has yielded to Election Commission's directive and has filed "under protest" its annual audit report 2013-14 which reveals it has cash and its equivalents of over Rs 580 crore.

PTI| Last Updated: Jul 10, 2015, 21:29 PM IST

New Delhi: After resisting for close to an year, the Congress has yielded to Election Commission's directive and has filed "under protest" its annual audit report 2013-14 which reveals it has cash and its equivalents of over Rs 580 crore.

Congress Treasurer Motilal Vora Friday sent the annual report to the poll panel but made it clear that it "disputes" the power to the EC to summon such a report from the party.

"We are enclosing herewith a copy of annual audited accounts for the Financial Year 2013-14 under protest. It is made clear that unless necessary amendments are carried out in the relevant provisions of the Representation of People Act, 1951, the Election Commission is not empowered to go beyond the purview of the Act.

"The Commission, if it so wishes, may kindly take up the matter with the Ministry of Law and Justice for their consideration for further action, if found necessary," Vora said in a letter to the EC.

The party maintained that until amendments in the appropriate statutes are carried out, there is no legal justification for the demands being made by the Commission.

"We reiterate that we dispute the power of the Election Commission to demand the audited accounts but are still filing our audited annual accounts for the FY 2013-14 under protest," he said.

The letter added that EC's reliance on Article 324 of the Constitution to claim for itself the power to pass the transparency guidelines is "misplaced".

The audit report said the party collected over Rs 470 crore by "issuing coupons or by sale of publications" and had an income of over Rs 64 crore by way of grants, donations and contributions made to it during the said period.

It said, for FY 2013-14, it spent over Rs 347 crore as "election expenditure".

The party's balance sheet for the said period said its overall balances stood at over Rs 767 crore.

The Congress and the poll panel had locked horns over the issue of submission of these annual audit reports as part of EC's guidelines issued to ensure transparency in the poll process.