Mamata fears Durga Puja tax net: Dilip Ghosh
Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh on Monday alleged that Mamata Banerjee was protesting against income tax notices to Durga Puja organisers because of her fear that IT probes would expose the nexus between chit fund firms and puja committees headed by Trinamul leaders and ministers.
“Didi is not worried about the religious aspect of Durga Puja. If she was so serious about Durga Puja, then we would not have had to move the high court to seek permission for timely immersion of the idols. It is all about her party men’s direct involvement in channelising the chit fund money into several Durga Puja committees. She is scared that all this will be out if tax authorities probe the books of the puja committees,” Ghosh told a news conference in Calcutta.
The chief minister had announced an eight-hour dharna by the Trinamul Congress on Tuesday to protest income tax notices to several Puja committees in Bengal.
Ghosh called the protest as an “effort to divert people’s minds on religious grounds”.
Reacting to her decision to organise the dharna, the BJP’s Midnapore MP said: “She has the habit of bringing every issue to the streets. This time, too, she will do it through her dharnas. But why is she worried if there are no discrepancies in the accounts of the puja committees?”
He has further said any event — religious or social — that involves donations from people should adhere to taxation rules and regulations.
“Since Durga Pujas are organised with collection of donations from common people and through business sponsors involving few crores of rupees, their accounts should be under the scanner of the income tax department,” the BJP MP said.
In January, Mamata had instructed puja committees not to provide information sought by the income tax department, saying it was the Narendra Modi government’s attempt to “harass” them.
Mamata had earlier criticised the Centre over income tax notices to the puja organisers, asserting that those who held such religious events should not be taxed.
Trinamul secretary-general Partha Chatterjee and municipal affairs minister Firhad Hakim were unavailable to react to Ghosh’s allegations.