Home Politics I-T dept clarifies that no notice was sent to Durga Puja committees in West Bengal

I-T dept clarifies that no notice was sent to Durga Puja committees in West Bengal

Mamata Banerjee's government had in 2017 imposed restrictions on Durga Puja idol immersion timings, as the date had coincided with Muharram

In response to West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee’s protest against the Income Tax department’s alleged notice to Durga Puja committees, the Bengal BJP has accused a section of TMC leaders of hiding black money, allegedly looted in chit fund scams, in the puja committees.

“Nothing should be read into the Centre’s move to tax the Puja committees. It is just being done to prevent money laundering,” Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh said adding it was common knowledge that the chit fund often cash got routed through Puja committees.

“After all they are dealing with public money. They collect cash and donation from the people of the society and they must account for that money,” Ghosh said.

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“Lakhs of rupees earned through chit fund are often looted and laundered in this manner and it is the Government’s duty look into this entire business,” he said.

Meanwhile, BJP national secretary, Rahul Sinha also accused the chief minister of opposing the IT Department’s move to shield the corrupt TMC leaders. “What is the harm if IT looks into the money flow in Durga Puja committees. In some puja committees, senior TMC leaders and ministers occupy important positions and use it to launder their black money looted through cut money and chit fund scams. The TMC is afraid that this link might be revealed,” he said.

Earlier, Mamata Banerjee has tweeted that the Income Tax Dept has issued notices to many committees who organise Durga pujos, asking them to pay taxes. “We are proud of all our national festivals”, she had added.

Slamming BJP at the centre for targeting the Kolkata Durga Puja committees with income tax notices, Bengal Chief Minister on Saturday said that the Centre was trying to intimidate the local clubs so that they could be forced to work for the BJP in future.

“I want the centre to stop bringing the Puja committees in the tax net,” Banerjee said showing how the sentiments of lakhs of people were involved with the Durga Puja which was the biggest festival of the Bengali people.

She took to Twitter to express her anger against the centre, “The Income Tax Dept has issued notices to many committees who organise Durga pujos, asking them to pay taxes. We are proud of all our national festivals,” Banerjee tweeted. The Trinamool Congress Banga Janani Wing will sit on dharna on Tuesday, August 13 at Subodh Mallik Square (Opposite Hind Cinema) 10 am-6 pm,” she furthered.

She also said: “These festivals are for all and we do not want any pujo festival to be taxed. This will be a burden on the organizers. Bangla government withdrew tax, which was earlier there, on Ganga Sagar Mela. We protest and demand no taxation on Durga Pujo and Durga Pujo committees.”

“Even we have withdrawn tax from Ganga Sagar Mela because it involves sentiments of lakhs of devotees. The Centre will only earn people’s ire by taxing the Pujas,” she said furthering only about 25 Puja committees out of 2,800 have a budget beyond Rs 50 lakh.

“Most of them have a budget of Rs 15 lakh or so and that too is collected through donation and sponsor,” she maintained.

Meanwhile, mocking the CM for shedding ‘crocodile tears’ for the Durga Puja committees, Rahul Sinha questioned, if she is so concerned about these committees, then why did the TMC Government on several occasions try to stop Durga Puja rituals, in order to allow Muharram in the State?

It is pertinent to note here that Mamata Banerjee’s government had in 2017 imposed restrictions on Durga Puja idol immersion timings, as the date had coincided with Muharram. Meanwhile, Sinha furthered “what is the harm if IT looks into the money flow in Durga Puja committees. In some puja committees, senior TMC leaders and ministers occupy important positions and use it to launder their black money looted through cut money and chit fund scams. The TMC is afraid that this link might be revealed.”

In a latest development, the Central Board of Direct Taxes, (CBDT) has informed that no I-T notice has been sent to the Durga Puja Committee Forum. As per an ANI report, the taxation body has stated that the media reports regarding Durga Puja Committees being isseued I-T notices in the last few weeks are wrong and no notice has been sent this year.

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