Indian Opposition Congress Granted Reprieve from $420 Million Tax Demand Until After Elections

New Delhi: India’s Income Tax department has announced that it will postpone its pursuit of a 35-billion rupee ($420 million) payment from the main opposition Congress party until after the conclusion of the general elections in June, the department informed the country’s top court on Monday.

This decision by the tax department comes as a respite for the Congress party, which has been grappling with multiple income tax notices in recent weeks. Moreover, authorities have already levied penalties totaling 1.35 billion rupees from the party’s bank accounts shortly before the commencement of voting on April 19.

The Congress party has vehemently criticized these actions, labeling them as politically motivated and aimed at undermining its financial capabilities, especially during the crucial election period.

However, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has refuted these allegations, asserting that the tax department is merely adhering to the regulations governing tax law violations.

In a significant development, Tushar Mehta, India’s solicitor-general, informed the Supreme Court that the Income Tax department will refrain from initiating any “coercive action” until after the completion of the elections. The general elections, conducted in seven phases, are scheduled from April 19 to June 1, with the vote count slated for June 4.

The Supreme Court has scheduled the next hearing on the tax issue for July 24, allowing the Congress party a temporary reprieve from the financial burden imposed by the tax demand amid the ongoing electoral process.