CPI(M) Accuses BJP of Conspiring to Freeze Party Accounts in Kerala

The Communist Party of India (Marxist) accused the Bharatiya Janata Party of conspiring with the Income Tax department to freeze its accounts in Thrissur district, Kerala. The account was frozen due to a bank error, and the party claims the move was politically motivated.

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Bijay Laxmi
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CPI(M) Accuses BJP of Conspiring to Freeze Party Accounts in Kerala

CPI(M) Accuses BJP of Conspiring to Freeze Party Accounts in Kerala

On May 10, 2024, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI(M)) accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of conspiring with the Income Tax department to freeze the party's accounts in Thrissur district, Kerala. CPI(M) state secretary M V Govindan alleged that thebankaccount freeze was due to a mistake by the Bank of India, which entered the wrong Permanent Account Number (PAN) for the party's account.

Why this matters: This incident highlights the ongoing political tensions in Kerala and the alleged misuse of government agencies for political gain. The controversy also raises questions about the transparency and accountability of political parties' financial transactions, which can have far-reaching implications for democratic governance.

According to Govindan, the CPI(M) has only one PAN number, AAATC0400A, which is used for all party accounts across India, including district and state committees. However, the Thrissur branch of Bank of India entered the PAN number as AAAJC0400A, replacing the fourth letter "T" with "J". This error prompted the Income Tax department to freeze the account on April 6, which held ₹4.8 crore.

The CPI(M) claims that the BJP's attempt to hinder the Left Democratic Front's campaign in the Thrissur Lok Sabha constituency is behind the Income Tax department's acting, interest. Govindan accused the department of functioning at the command of the BJP to make things difficult for the CPI(M) during election time. He stated, "Who said they are after facts? The IT officials were just functioning at the command of the BJP to make things difficult for the CPM during election time."

Bank of India acknowledged the mistake in a reply to the CPI(M) Thrissur District Committee on April 18. Despite this, the party's account remained frozen. CPI(M) Thrissur district secretary M M Varghese was subjected to prolonged interrogation by Income Tax officials. Govindan claimed that the media misrepresented the incident, stating that Varghese was summoned by the department and had withdrawn money from the article as instructed.

In response to the allegations, Govindan emphasized that the CPI(M) decided not to utilize the withdrawn money to avoid a media controversy during the election. He questioned the Income Tax department's authority to prohibit legal transactions, stating, "How can they issue such a directive... The IT has no authority to prohibit a legal transaction and we knew that we were under no legal obligation to obey the orders."

The CPI(M) leader also addressed allegations that the party hoarded unaccounted money in its accounts without filing income tax returns. Govindan reiterated that the party's financial operations are transparent and above board, with no unaccounted money or hidden funds. He stated that the CPI(M) sources its funds from party levies and contributions from small donors, demonstrating its commitment to financial integrity.

The CPI(M)'s accusations against the BJP and Income Tax department come amid ongoing political tensions in Kerala. The party plans to mobilize students, teachers, and women to protest Israel's military action against the people of Palestine on May 20, 2024, expressing solidarity with protesters worldwide, including those in the United States. As the controversy surrounding the frozen accounts continues, the CPI(M) remains steadfast in its commitment to financial transparency and its opposition to what it perceives as politically motivated actions by the BJP and government agencies.