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‘Why So Rattled,’ Asks BJP After Mayawati Defends 104-Crore Bank Deposit, Attacks PM Modi

‘Why So Rattled,’ Asks BJP After Mayawati Defends 104-Crore Bank Deposit, Attacks PM Modi

LUCKNOW:  Mayawati, chief of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), today said “every penny” of the over 100 crores deposited in a bank account of her party after the notes ban is accounted for, and accused the ruling BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi of “misusing power to malign the image” of her party before crucial elections in Uttar Pradesh. “The money belongs to the party, which has been deposited following due procedures. We have an account of every rupee deposited in banks, but what about deposits by BJP?” asked Ms Mayawati, at a press conference in Lucknow, daring PM Modi to make public bank deposits by his party. “I want to tell the PM that if you have any honesty and sincerity, you should make public any major expense, statement of deposits and expenditures of the BJP. Let it all be out in the open,” the BSP chief said, accusing BJP leaders of being “anti-Dalit”. Ms Mayawati belongs to the Dalit community and draws a significant portion of her political support from it.   The BSP chief had insulted Dalits, said the BJP’s Ravi Shankar Prasad in a swift counter-attack. “Will your corruption be hidden in the name of Dalits?” the union minister said, also asking whether the huge amount of money deposited in her party’s bank account was a “money conversion exercise.” “Her allegations are baseless and we reject it with the contempt they deserve. If the Enforcement Directorate does a routine exercise, why is she so rattled?” Mr Prasad said, pointing out that the BJP had so far not commented on reports of the big bank deposit. Sources in the Enforcement Directorate have said that around 104 crores were deposited in a Union Bank account belonging to the BSP in the seven weeks since PM Modi banned 500 and 1,000-rupee notes to combat corruption and black or undeclared money. At the same bank, 1.43 crores were reportedly deposited in the account of Ms Mayawati’s brother, Anand Kumar, sources said. Ms Mayawati said today that the notes ban was announced while her party was in the process of seeking donations from supporters for the elections in UP, to be held soon. The old notes that the party had were deposited by due process and she had herself inspected accounts, she said, adding, “should we have thrown away the old notes?” Dismissing allegations against her brother, Ms Mayawati said, “He has his own business and deposited money in bank account as per Income Tax norms.” The UP elections will see Ms Mayawati’s party making an attempt to return to power in the state after five years. The BSP will take on the BJP as well as the Samajwadi Party and Congress in what is seen as the most crucial election before the national elections of 2019.  Under the Income Tax Act, the income of political parties is exempt from tax provided all donations above Rs. 20,000 are taken by cheque and that in cash is properly documented, with full details of the donors. These accounts also have to be audited.

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