Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday dubbed the Income Tax department's notice revoking tax exemption given to the AAP the "height of political vendetta", while the party accused the Centre of using probe agencies to defame rival parties.
AAP national treasurer Deepak Bajpai said the action by the taxman was "unprecedented" and that for the first time each and every donation, even those as low as Rs 10, has been declared taxable.
"It is a vindictive act and people are well aware why are we being targeted. It will be inappropriate to go into the merits of the assessment order that we have received two days back. It is completely bogus," he said.
Kejriwal, himself a former taxman, tweeted, "In the history of India, all donations to a political party have been declared illegal. All these were accounted for and shown in books of accounts. This is a height of political vendetta."
The Income Tax Department has charged the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) with taking "hawala entries" worth Rs 2 crore from a Delhi-based operative even as it has revoked the tax exemption, given to it for being a political party, for the assessment year 2015-16.
The taxman, as per the penalty notice accessed by PTI, has alleged that the Kejriwal-led party in power in Delhi "incorrectly disclosed the hawala money as voluntary donations".
Bajpai declined to comment on this charge, saying the matter would now be under the purview of quasi-judicial bodies, hinting that the party would appeal against the order.
The department has slapped these charges on the political party in its assessment order issued to it last week and it has determined the total taxable income of the AAP at Rs 68.44 crore, with a corresponding income tax of Rs 30.67 crore for the Assessment Year 2015-16.