The Times of India
New Delhi

NEW DELHI: Aam Aadmi Party has reacted sharply to a Delhi high court order asking the Centre to inquire into the party's foreign donations for violating Foreign Contribution (Regulatory) Act.

In a statement on Thursday, AAP claimed that HC issued notice to it on "an utterly frivolous and mala fide" petition by advocate M L Sharma and also said the Centre has been sluggish in probing similar allegations against parties like Congressand BJP.

AAP even accused Sharma of hiding facts from court. "Though the petition makes all types of ridiculous allegations against Team Annaand NGO Kabir, it does not disclose the result of an earlier petition filed by Sharma against foreign funding. The government after full investigation found everything to be in order," the statement said.

AAP has also questioned the Centre's role in another PIL seeking a probe into foreign funding of established parties. "Though we welcome any probe into our finances, we find it noteworthy that another petition, filed by Association for Democratic Reforms (civil society group), has been pending for almost a year in the Delhi high court where complete documentary evidence has been provided for the foreign funding of Congress and BJP from foreign companies like Vedanta to whom various benefits had been conferred by these parties. The government has been dragging its feet in that case and has taken no action despite documentary evidence of substantial funding of Congress and BJP by foreign companies," AAP further alleged.

Congress and BJP have vigorously opposed the PIL in the high court by ADR in HC. In their affidavits, a copy of which is with TOI, the parties have argued that companies that have donated the money are owned by Indians who have more than 51% stake and run Indian subsidiaries. ADR had cited IT returns of these parties to show that between 2003-04 and 2011-12, threeVedanta Group firms-Sterlite Industries India Ltd, Sesa Goa Ltd and Solaries Holdings Ltd-contributed a total of Rs 9.78 crore to Congress. During the same period, BJP received a total of Rs 19.41 crore from two firms-Vedanta Madras Aluminium Ltd and Sesa Goa Ltd-and a body called Public and Political Awareness Trust.

The Centre has also harped on the same theme arguing that companies incorporated in India can't be treated as foreign firms and their donations don't fall under FCRA.

AAP stressed it is committed to "complete transparency" and had put up all its donations received on its website. According to their website, AAP received a total of Rs 16.65 crore from Indian donors within the country and abroad. It has received Rs 11.82 crore from donors within the country, Rs 1.70 crore from Indians in the US, Rs 1.07 crore from Indians in Hong Kong, Rs 48.40 lakh from donors in UAE, Rs 34.29 lakh from UK and Rs 33.17 lakh from countrymen residing in Singapore.

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