HC notice to BJP, Congress to probe foreign funding
The Delhi High Court today sought response from the Congress and the BJP on a plea accusing them of accepting donations from abroad in violation of various laws .
A division bench of justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Indermeet Kaur issued notice to both the Congress and the BJP and sought their response on a plea seeking direction for a CBI or SIT probe against them for allegedly accepting donations from Britain-based Vedanta Group.
Accepting Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Rajiv Mehra's submission that the Centre is investigating the complaint following the Election Commission's letter on the issue and a decision is yet to be taken, the bench asked the government
counsel to file an affidavit within three weeks.
The bench fixed March 19 as the next date of hearing on the matter.
The court had earlier sought response from the Home Ministry and the Election Commission (EC) saying it will go through their replies before asking the two parties – the Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) - to respond.
In its response, the EC stated that it had twice written to the home ministry but no response was received by it.
"The Election Commission has written to the Home Ministry on September 28, 2012 forwarding the complaints received by the Commission that certain political parties have received foreign sources in contravention of law.
"The commission forwarded the complaints received together with contribution report since 2003-04, requesting the ministry to examine the matter and take such further action...," said Ashish Chakraborty, Secretary of Election Commission of India in the reply.
The court was hearing a PIL, filed by NGO Association for Democratic Reforms through advocate Prashant Bhushan, alleging that various laws have been violated by the Congress and the BJP by receiving funding from Vedanta Resources.
The PIL alleged that the two political parties violated the Representation of People Act (RPA) and the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA).
The petitioner also sought an order directing the Centre to "cancel the income tax exemption given to political parties and corporate groups for donations made in violation of the law of the land"