New Delhi, Nov 21 (IANS) Ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Saturday announced to hold 181 press conferences to tell people about the “181 corruption schemes” of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led Municipal Corporation of Delhi.
Senior AAP leader and chief spokesperson Saurabh Bhardwaj made the announcement regarding the move earlier in the day while presenting the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) audit report.
Bhardwaj said that in Delhi, where the property rates are higher than other states, the “MCD is poor but the councillors are rich”.
“This is because of the rampant corruption in property tax collection in the MCD by the BJP leaders. When the AAP government was formed in 2015, the Delhi government had an income of Rs 30,000 crore, which got increased to Rs 60,000 crore in a span of four years without increasing taxes, but the MCD taxpayers decreased in a year due to non-compliance of people owing to their corruption,” said Bhardwaj.
As per the report, the leader said, the MCD collected taxes from 3,95,219 people in 2015-16, the next year, they collected taxes from 4,41,879 people. “The taxpayers decreased in 2017-18, and the MCD collected taxes from only 4,05,774 people.”
Bhardwaj also said that as per the MCD audit report, the tax from the Parsvanath Developers never reached the MCD treasury despite sending a tax notice of Rs 7 crore, which means it went into the pockets of BJP leaders, or officials, or both.
Addressing a first press conference in the series of 181 press conferences, Bhardwaj said, “When the MCD elections were held in 2017, the BJP leadership was aware of the fact that the BJP councillors have a very rotten image amongst the people, owing to their corruption as well as the work done by the MCD since it has been in power. Thus, the BJP decided to replace the old councillor candidates with the new faces, and a campaign, ‘Naye Chehre, Nayi Udaan’ was launched in the MCD elections.
“The elections were fought in the name of the main leadership of the BJP and 181 BJP councillors were elected. The BJP has been ruling all three MCDs for the last 15 years. But the new MCD council has broken the records of even the old council in terms of corruption. We will run a series of press conferences in which we will be informing you about every scheme of the MCD in every press conference. The prime topic of the press conferences will be ‘181 schemes of corruption by the BJP in MCD’.”
The leader asked about the main issue of the BJP in the MCD and said they say they do not have money and revenue. “The main source of revenue of the municipal corporations across India is property tax. And the surprising fact is that in Delhi, which is the capital of India, and where the property tax is one of the highest in the country due to high property rates, the MCD does not have revenue. The MCD here is poor but the councillors are rich. How is it possible?.”
“The lower the taxes the higher the compliance. The lower the taxes, the more and more people will pay the taxes and the treasury of the government will have a much higher collection. But, a reverse trajectory has been noticed in MCD, where the taxes are higher and the compliance and collection are lower, and the corruption is more. If the demand for taxes is Rs 5 crore instead of Rs 1 crore, people will naturally end up not paying taxes. And when people do not pay taxes, the MCD would demand Rs 1 crore for them instead of convincing them to pay taxes. This means that the people are paying money but it is not reaching the MCD. Where is the money going? This question should be answered by the BJP leadership, is the money reaching leaders or officials, or both?,” he said.
In 2014, the North MCD gave a contract to a company to create a Unique Property Identification Card (UPIC) against every property, and the company was paid Rs 13.77 crore, said Bhardwaj, adding nothing was done to implement and define the UPIC, to “divert the money into the pockets of the leaders and officials and not the MCD treasury”.
“Tax collection in 2015-16 was Rs 336 crore, it was Rs 614 crore in 2016-17, and it was again decreased to Rs 553 crore in 2017-18.”
Another instance which has been mentioned in their audit report is a property situated at Magazine Road in the Civil Lines in the name of Parsvanath Developers. This property was vacant land till 2015-16, which is why their taxes were Rs 65,43,000. After that, the property was redeveloped, and 23 towers of 10 stories each were constructed.
“You can imagine the amount of tax that the MCD was collecting from this single property. The tax which was collected owing to the land being vacant was ceased, and the MCD did an assessment and gave a tax notice of Rs 7,72,00,000. As per this audit report, the tax was never received despite sending the notice to Parsvanath Developers. This is first scheme of the corruption of the MCD, under BJP 181. Give a property tax notice, conduct an assessment, warn them, but never collect and submit taxes to the MCD,” said Bhardwaj.
“These are neither the relatives of Adesh Gupta nor Manoj Tiwari. The notice was sent, but the tax was never received by the MCD, which means that the money was collected by somebody to fill their own pockets.”