Election Commission issues show cause notice to Aam Aadmi Party

Election Commission of India (ECI) today issued a show cause notice to Aam Aadmi Party under para 16A of The Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order, this section empowers EC to suspend or withdraw the recognition of a political party for violation of Model Code of Conduct or other directions and instructions of the commission. The notice was issued based on a CBDT report which indicated that there were discrepancies in the disclosure of donations received by the party during the financial year 2014-15.

Text of notice to AAP by Election Commission

Text of notice to AAP by Election Commission

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The notice specified three distinct discrepancies in the accounting of the party, they are:

  1. Concealment of donations: The notices says that there is discrepancy in the donations received by AAP during FY 2014-15. According to CBDT assessment, and amount of ₹67.67 crore was credited to the bank account of the party during the period, but the party disclosed a total receipt of ₹54.15 from donations during the same period. Hence receipt of ₹13.16 crore has not been accounted for the party and this is violation of EC regulations.
  2. Entries from Hawala Dealers: The CBDT report states that Aam Aadmi Party has taken accommodation entries from hawala operators amounting to ₹2 crores. But the party has shown them as voluntary donations.
  3. Incorrect disclosure to EC and also incorrect disclosure on the website: The notice says the AAP made wrong disclosure to EC under section 29C of The Representation of the People Act, 1951. And when the discrepancies were questioned, the party had changed its contribution report. The initial Contribution Report showed a list of 2696 donors with total donation amounting to ₹37.45 crores, which was later revised to total 8264 donors with a total donation of ₹37.61 crores.

The notice issued to the party states that prima facie, Aam Aadmi Party has violated the directions of the Election Commission under para 16A of The Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order, 1968. Therefore, the notice gives the party a period of 20 days from receipt of the notice to furnish a reply to the Commission, indicating why action should not be taken against the party under the said para.

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