'Won't Take Any Coercive Steps To Recover Rs 3,500 Crore From Congress Till Polls': Income Tax Dept Tells SC

Congress leader KC Venugopal alleged a conspiracy against the Congress party to freeze its financial resources to contest the Lok Sabha elections

'Won't Take Any Coercive Steps To Recover Rs 3,500 Crore From Congress Till Polls': Income Tax Dept Tells SC

New Dehi: The Income Tax department on Monday assured the Supreme Court that it will not take any coercive action against the Congress party to recover 3500 crores amid the 2024 Lok Sabha Elections.

The apex court recorded the department's stance as Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Income Tax department, assured the Supreme Court that no coercive actions would be pursued against the Congress party during the elections and urged the SC to postpone the matter for hearing until June.

"Till the matter is heard, we will not take recovery/coercive steps as elections are going on," Mehta told a bench of Justices BV Nagarathna and Augustine George Masih.
Mehta said the IT department does not want to create problems for any party during elections.

The bench recording the undertaking of the Solicitor General, in it's order stated, "The issues that arise in these appeals are yet to be adjudicated upon but having regard to the situation now, the (Income Tax) Department does not wish to precipitate the matter inasmuch as no coercive steps will be taken with regard to (the tax demand of) Rs 3,500 crores approximately till the next date of hearing. List the matter in the second week of July."

Addressing the development, Congress general secretary KC Venugopal said he welcomes the Supreme Court's decision however he alleged that there's conspiracy against Congress to freeze its financial assets to make it difficult for the party to contest the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.

"We are welcoming the Supreme Court's decision on that. But it is clearly a conspiracy to stop the financial sources of the Congress party to deny the level planning field for the Congress party to fight elections," said Venugopal

"Supreme Court had already given a stay till the elections. But actually, they have already seized our accounts. I don't know what is the status of that thing. They have taken our money from our account. They have to give it back to the Congress party. Then only we can fight the election," he added.

The apex court was hearing an appeal filed by the Congress party in 2018 against a 2016 judgment of the Delhi High Court. In the appeal, the party moved an interim application seeking the recent demand notices issued by the IT department in March.

The Delhi High Court on March 28 rejected the Congress's plea challenging the initiation of tax reassessment proceedings against it for assessment years 2017 to 2021 by tax authorities.

The High Court had said the pleas were dismissed in terms of its earlier decision refusing to interfere with the opening of reassessment for another period.
On March 22, the High Court rejected the Congress's plea challenging the initiation of reassessment proceedings pertaining to assessment years 2014-15 to 2016-17.