The Election Commission of India has accepted the Bahujan Samaj Party’s (BSP) explanation and dropped the matter related to the party depositing Rs 104 crore in scrapped currency notes between December 2-9 last year in a bank account in New Delhi post demonetisation, a petitioner has said. Nutan Thakur, counsel for Pratap Chandra, who had filed a Public Interest Litigation in the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court, said that the Election Commission of India guidelines for financial transparency issued on August 29 and November 19, 2014, laid down that a political party must deposit its cash collections in its bank account within 10 working days of the fund collection.
The EC guidelines said that violation of these guidelines would lead to action, including cancelling the recognition of the political party. Pratap Chandra had moved the court saying that the BSP had deposited Rs 104 crore in old currency notes after November 8, which was a violation of these guidelines. On this, the court directed the poll panel to take action in three months.
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Responding to the Election Commission notice of March 2, 2017, the BSP on March 12 accepted that it deposited Rs 104.36 crore during the said period. But the party explained that it has only one bank account in Delhi in Karol Bagh and all the cash is first transferred to Delhi, and then deposited in this bank account. It said the money was collected at various rallies held by party leaders, and that it had immediately contacted the bank to get the cash deposited but the bank officials showed inability to deposit such a huge amount in one go. Hence, the money was deposited based on the bank’s ability to count and deposit it.
Through its order dated May 4, the Election Commission has accepted the BSP’s explanation and dropped the matter, citing the peculiar circumstances and practical difficulties explained by the party as the reason. It has, however, warned the BSP to scrupulously follow the instructions in future, petitioner Pratap Chandra said.