AAP accuses civic bodies of corruption in property tax collection; absurd claims, says BJP

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Saturday accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led municipal corporations in Delhi (MCDs) of corruption in property tax collection and said it was going to hold a series of media briefings in the coming days to expose the corruption. The BJP later termed the allegations “false and absurd”.

“In Delhi, where the property rates are higher than that in other states, the MCDs are still poor but councillors are rich. This is because there is rampant corruption in property tax collection perpetrated by BJP leaders. As per the audit report of the MCDs, a company was paid ₹13.77 crore for creating the Unique Property Identification Card (UPIC) system. The system was never implemented so as to divert money into the pockets of local BJP leaders and officials,” said AAP’s national spokesperson Saurabh Bhardwaj.

He further said, “When the AAP government was formed in 2015, the Delhi government had an income of ₹30,000 crore, which increased to ₹60,000 crore in the next four years, even without the government increasing taxes. But the MCD taxpayers have decreased in 2017-18 due to non-compliance that was brought about by corruption. In 2015-16, they collected taxes from 3,95,219 people, the next year, the MCD collected taxes from 4,41,879 people. The number decreased in 2017-18 to 4,05,774 people.”

Bhardwaj added that the AAP will hold a series of press conferences – starting Saturday – to expose the alleged corruption.

The Delhi BJP spokesperson Praveen Shankar Kapoor said, “These statements are false and absurd. We fail to understand how AAP leaders can even imagine that tax money can be syphoned off by individual leaders or officials of the MCDs. As per the law, tax collection is done in bank drafts. This leaves no chance for any pilferage. As for the decrease in the number of taxable properties is concerned, from 4.41 lakh to 4.05 lakh, that happened after small properties, especially in unregularised areas, were exempted from the tax net.”

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