Crackdown on Tax Evasion: Raids on Unrecognised Political Parties

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The income tax department conducted raids in multiple states on Wednesday as part of a nationwide investigation into tax evasion by certain registered unrecognised political parties (RUPP) and their suspected dubious financial transactions, according to official sources.

At least 110 locations in Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, and other states are currently being searched, with the tax teams being supported by the police.

As part of this operation, an I-T team was seen at a lawyer’s office in the Mayur Vihar area.

The department has initiated a coordinated action against certain RUPPs, their promoters, and associated entities to examine the sources of their income and expenses. Additionally, investigations into alleged political funding through illegal means are also underway.

The surprise action was reportedly taken by the department following a recent recommendation by the Election Commission (EC), which removed 198 entities from its list of RUPPs due to non-existence during physical verification.

The EC had announced action against over 2,100 entities classified as RUPPs for violating rules and election laws, including issues related to monetary contributions, address updates, and financial impropriety.

Parties found to be non-existent or with undelivered verification letters from authorities are being investigated.

The EC has withdrawn benefits from these parties under the Symbols Order (1968), including the allocation of a common election symbol.

The EC has requested evidence from aggrieved RUPPs to support their existence and financial activities within 30 days.

The Department of Revenue and the Central Board of Direct Taxes are involved in taking legal and criminal actions against parties engaged in financial impropriety.

Nearly 2,800 registered unrecognised political parties are in India, with the EC advocating for the power to de-register parties to deter financial irregularities.

The EC has flagged parties across India for tax relief without proper disclosure of financial reports.

Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar is leading efforts to clean up such political entities and had previously directed banks to take action against deregistered shell companies.

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