The Times of India
Sanjay Sharma

An RTI inquiry posed by 2 NGOs — Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and National Election Watch (NEW) — striving to procure details of tax returns filed by political parties has revealed that the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) in Punjab has not filed its Permanent Account Number ( PAN) before the department concerned.

The NGOs have suggested that returns filed by political parties be audited by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) and propose to recommend as much at a regional consultation being held by the Election Commission of India and Union ministry of law and justice here on Saturday. The deliberation on 22 reforms relates to internal democracy, barring chargesheeted criminals and creating financial transparency in dealings of political parties.

Similar consultations have already been held in Bhopal, Kolkata, Mumbai and Lucknow. The last one would be held in New Delhi on April 2.

The poll reform bodies have failed to procure contribution reports submitted by SAD for 2006-07, 2007-08 and 2008-09 either from EC or the I-T department. They have filed RTIs to seek the details. ADR has the contribution report for 2009-10 only. Total donations or contributions are Rs 1.22 crore. Maximum contribution has come from the Ambuja Cement (Rs 75 lakh), followed by Trig Guardi Force Ltd (Rs 21 lakh) and Punj Lloyd Ltd (Rs 20 lakh).

Balwant Singh Khera, an ADR member and political activist who has accosted SAD for having two sets of constitution (a religious one for SGPC and secular for political elections), said he would continue his struggle for bringing political parties under the ambit of RTI.

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