New Delhi

Flagging the circulation of unaccounted money in activities related to the electoral process in India, the Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR), a non-profit, has sought strict regulation of political party funding and expenditure, declaration of IT returns of MPs in the public domain, among others.

Action plan

In a memorandum to Justice AB Shah, Chairman of the Special Investigation Team on Black Money, ADR pointed out that 15 political parties had not yet submitted their election expenditure statements for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections when the deadline was August 16.

The ruling BJP as well as a few regional parties have not yet submitted their expenditure statements for the Karnataka Assembly Elections in 2013 when the deadline was July 22, 2013, ADR said.

Analysis of returns

The task of ‘preparing a comprehensive action plan, including the creation of necessary institutional structures that can enable and strengthen the country’s battle against generation of unaccounted monies, and their stashing away in foreign banks or in various forms domestically,’ as mentioned in Para 2(iv) of the ‘terms of reference’ of the SIT, cannot be completed unless attention is paid to the possible use of unaccounted money in the electoral and political processes, said Jagdeep Chhokar, Founder-Trustee of ADR, in his letter to Justice Shah.

In the memo, ADR points out that analysis of returns of national parties between FY 2004-05 and 2012-13 shows that their total income from unknown sources amounted to ₹4,368.75 crore. The national parties declared ₹381.81 crore as cash donations during the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, but the sources remain unavailable, it added.

ADR added out of over 1,600 registered political parties, only 464 contested in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, raising the question on the need for registering as a party when not actively taking part in the political process.

ADR further added that the two biggest parties — BJP and Congress — were also found guilty of taking donations from foreign sources by the Delhi High court (Petition in WP(C) No. 131 of 2013; Association of Democratic Reforms & another vs Union of India).

In addition, there was extraordinary growth in assets declared by the candidates (contesting elections), as 165 re-elected MPs have shown a total increase in immovable assets of ₹1232.43 crore or a 137 per cent rise in the last two general elections.

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