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EC threatens action against AAP for discrepancies in electoral funding reports

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Arvind Kejriwal

New Delhi | Flagging discrepancies in its electoral funding statement, the Election Commission Tuesday threatened the AAP with action for “prima facie failing” to follow its transparency guidelines.

In its show-cause notice, the EC claimed that transactions through hawala operators were “wrongly disclosed as voluntary donations”. The EC has asked the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) to respond to the notice “within 20 days”, failing which it will decide on the cases on merit based on the information available with it and the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT).

Rule 16 A of the Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order allows the EC to either suspend or withdraw recognition of a recognised political party. The AAP is a recognised state party in Delhi. The notice said the AAP had submitted the original contribution report for Financial Year 2014-15, which was received by it on September 30, 2015. The party later submitted a revised report on March 20, 2017.

“The original report contains a list of 2,696 donors with the total donations amounting to Rs 37,45,44,618 and the revised contribution report shows the total amount as Rs 37,60,62,631 received from 8,264 donors,” it said.

The poll panel said that a report was received from the office of the CBDT chairman in 2018 regarding “concealment of donations received by the AAP” during Financial Year 2014-15.

Referring to concealment of donations, the EC notice said the bank account of the AAP recorded total credits of Rs 67.67 crore, including Rs 64.44 crore from donations in excess of Rs 20,001.

“However, the party has disclosed total income of Rs 54.15 crore from donations in its audited accounts for the year. Therefore, it has been held by the assessing officer that Rs 13.16 crore have not been accounted for by the party and these donations have been held to be from unknown sources,” the notice read.

The notice also mentions transactions with hawala dealers, claiming that the party has taken “accommodation entries from hawala operators to the tune of Rs 2 crore. These have also been wrongly disclosed as voluntary donations.”

Referring to the CBDT report, the EC said the AAP made “wrong disclosures” on its official website and also furnished incorrect information to the poll panel under Section 29C of the Representation of the People Act.

“It (CBDT letter to EC) details how the party has changed/revised its contribution report once the correctness of the same was questioned. In conclusion, it is stated that its disclosures to the Election Commission in the form of the contribution report are incorrect,” the EC notice said.

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Inequalities have increased due to BJP’s casteist behaviour: Mayawati

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Mayawati BSP

Lucknow | The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) hit out at the ruling BJP on Tuesday, saying that owing to the saffron party’s casteist behaviour and communal hatred, inequalities had increased in the country and its social fabric was disintegrating.

In a statement issued here, BSP chief Mayawati, while greeting the people on the occasion of Sant Ravidas Jayanti, said, “Owing to the casteist behaviour and communal hatred shown by the BJP, inequalities in the country have increased and the social fabric is disintegrating. This is making the lives of the common people very difficult and this is unfortunate.”

She said the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) tried to politicise every problem by giving lengthy statements and resorting to emotional blackmailing, adding that the same thing was now being seen in the context of the Pulwama terror attack.

“The BJP should understand that this type of politics is not going to benefit the country and it should change its approach,” the former Uttar Pradesh chief minister said.

She also pointed out that Sant Ravidas had fought the caste system throughout his life.

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AAP govt has been a stumbling block in regularisation of unauthorized colonies: Puri

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New Delhi | Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Tuesday hit out at the Delhi government and said the AAP dispensation has been a “stumbling block” in regularisation of unauthorised colonies in the national capital.

The Union housing and urban affairs minister said the Delhi government adopts one position in public, but takes a complete opposite stand when it comes to doing something.

“I am deeply pained to have to say to you… I find that elected representatives sometimes, you know who I am referring to, adopt one position in public to say…

“We must reach out to the people because those are the vote bank and then, when it comes to doing something for them, they follow policy and take measures completely opposed to them,” Puri said.

He was speaking at a two-day international conference organised to discuss the ‘Master Plan for Delhi-2041’. The event witnessed detailed deliberations on ‘MPD- 2041’ on a range of issues.

Last week, Puri had written to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, alleging that the whole process of regularising unauthorised colonies in Delhi was stalled due to “apathy and inaction” of the AAP government, which vehemently rejected his claim.

At the event, the Union minister claimed that the Delhi government has sought two more years to do mapping of these colonies required for their regularisation.

In reference to his recent letter to Kejriwal over regularisation of unauthorised colonies, Puri said, “When we tried to do something for those people living in informal settlement, they (AAP government) have been a stumbling block. We did not accept that position, we are going ahead in any case…”

There are over 1,650 unauthorised colonies in the national capital where migrant population plays a vital role in deciding the fate of any political party during elections.

In the letter, Puri had said, “The Centre is keen to regularise all unauthorised colonies of Delhi which are covered under the regulations, but the whole process is stalled due to the apathy and inaction on the part of your government to finalise the boundaries after survey of these colonies.”

Responding to Puri’s allegations, the Delhi government had said the contents of the letter are factually “misleading, incorrect and imaginary”.

“It is a well-known fact that the central government does not like the existence of unauthorised colonies in Delhi and has been opposed to their regularisation.

“The chief minister will be sending a detailed response rebutting all false allegations made in the letter, this week,” the government had said in a statement issued on Sunday.

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If you can’t pick up Azhar, we’ll do it for you: Amarinder Singh to Imran Khan

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Amarinder Singh

Patiala | Slamming Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan for demanding proof of his country’s involvement in the Pulwama terror attack, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh Tuesday said JeM chief Masood Azhar had masterminded the attack while “sitting in Bahawalpur”.

In a tweet, Singh asked Khan about the action taken by Pakistan against the perpetrators of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack despite being presented with proof.

“Dear @ImranKhanPTI (Pakistan tehreek e insaf) you have Jaish chief Masood Azhar sitting in Bahawalpur and masterminding the attacks with ISI help. Go pick him up from there. If you can’t let us know we’ll do it for you,” Singh tweeted.

“BTW (by the way) what has been done about the proofs of Mumbai’s 26/11 attack. Time to walk the talk,” he said.

Singh wondered if the Pakistan prime minister wanted New Delhi to send the bodies of the slain CRPF soldiers to Pakistan as “actionable intelligence”.

“What proof is he talking about, should we take the bodies (of soldiers) there?,” said Singh in a statement.

“Masood Azhar (founder of terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed which claimed responsibility for the attack) is in Pakistan and doing things from there, and everyone knows it,” he added.

“Every day our soldiers are being killed at the Line of Control so who’s killing them?,” asked the chief minister, stressing that the world knew what Pakistan was doing in Kashmir and other parts of India.

“They (Pakistan) were behind 26/11 (Mumbai terror attack) and India gave all the proof to them, but they did nothing,” Singh said in the statement, adding that even in the Rajasansi blast at Nirankari Bhawan, Amritsar, a Pakistani grenade was used.

Earlier in the day, in a video message to the nation, Khan responded to the Indian allegations on Pakistan’s involvement in the attack in Kashmir last Thursday.

The suicide attack by Pakistan-based JeM left at least 40 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel dead.

“If you have any actionable intelligence that a Pakistani is involved. Give it to us. I guarantee you we will take action – not because we are under pressure, but because they are acting as enemies of Pakistan,” Khan said in the message.

Singh further said: “Pakistani Prime Minister, along with their Army Chief General Bajwa, were killing Indian soldiers and innocent people. India cannot and should not tolerate this… if they kill one of ours, we should kill two, Singh said further.

Earlier, addressing a public gathering here at the foundation stone laying ceremony of some projects, the chief minister underlined the importance of peace for development but said India needed to avenge the killings of its soldiers.

“Surgical strikes could be one way, but it was up to the Centre to decide what course of action it should take,” he said, making it clear that he was not in favour of war.

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