With the NDA government declaring that there are adequate safeguards in the income tax laws to monitor donations above Rs 20,000 received by political outfits, the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) released on Tuesday fresh data to show that there continues to be considerable ambiguity in details of donations declared by the national parties for financial year 2015-16.

The report, which covers the national parties include Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP), Indian National Congress (INC), Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Communist Party of India (CPI), Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPM) and All India Trinamool Congress (AITC), suggests that during FY 2014-15, in the report submitted by Congress, the column for declaring mode of contribution did not contain the cheque/DD numbers, for 192 donations amounting to Rs 138.98 crores. This formed 98% of total donations above Rs 20,000 to Congress.

The report also suggests Rs 8.11 crore was declared as received by Congress during FY 2015-16 from 318 such donors whose PAN details were unavailable. Of these, 49% funds came from individuals who donated Rs 3.99 cr and 51% from corporate donors who donated Rs 4.12 crore. "Such blatant disregard for rules by the political parties should be curbed and donations with incomplete details should not be entitled to the benefit of 100% tax exemptions of the defaulting parties," the report observed.

The ADR report suggested Rs 83.915 lakhs was declared as received by BJP during FY 2014-15 from 20 such donors whose PAN details, address and mode of contribution (together) were unavailable. Thus, only names of such donors and the contributed amount was declared by the party. A total of 73% of such funds came from corporates and 27% from individual donors. ADR said BJP collected Rs 2.19 crores from 71 donations without declaring PAN details in its report submitted for FY 2015-16.

The report also pointed towards anomalies in the report submitted by CPM for FY 2015-16. The column for declaring mode of contribution is missing from the report for 61 donations amounting to Rs 1.81 crore. This forms 100% of total donations above Rs 20,000 to the party. Without the cheque/DD details, it would be a time-consuming process to link the donors against their donations and hence trace the money trail.

Among other observations made by ADR, the total amount of donations above Rs 20,000 declared by the national parties totalled Rs 102.02 crore, from 1,744 donations. While a total of Rs 76.85 crore was declared by BJP from 613 donations, the Congress declared receiving Rs 20.42 crore from 918 donations.

The ADR report claimed that the donations declared by BJP were more than thrice the aggregate declared by the Congress, NCP, CPI, CPM and AITC for the same period. Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party declared that it did not receive any donations above Rs 20,000 during FY 2015-16, as it has been claiming for the past 10 years.

Comparing the donations received by the national parties over the previous fiscal, the report said the total donations of the national parties during FY 2015-16 decreased by Rs 528.67 crore, a decrease of 84% from the previous financial year 2014-15. NCP declared the highest decrease of 98%, from Rs 38.82 crore in FY 2014-15 to Rs 71 lakh in FY 2015-16, while donations to BJP decreased from Rs 437.35 crore during FY 2014-15 to Rs 76.85 crore during FY 2015-16, a decrease of 82%. "It is to be noted that BJP's donations had increased by 156% between FY 2013-14 and 2014-15 while that of Congress had increased by 137% during the same period," the report said.

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