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No coercive action against Cong over tax demand notices in view of LS polls: I-T dept to SC

New Delhi: The Income Tax department on Monday told the Supreme Court that it will not take any coercive action against the Congress over the tax demand notices of approximately Rs 3,500 crore in view of the Lok Sabha elections.

A bench of Justice B V Nagarathna and Justice Augustine George Masih recorded the statement of Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the I-T department, that no precipitative action will be taken in the prevailing circumstances till the final adjudication of the matter.

The bench posted the Congress' plea against the tax demand notices for July.

At the outset, Mehta said, "I want to make a statement in this matter. The Congress is a political party and since elections are going on, we are not going to take any coercive action against the party."

The department is not commenting on the merit of the matter and all rights and contentions should be left open, he said.

Senior advocate Abhishek Singhvi, appearing for the Congress appreciated the gesture, terming it "gracious", and said all demand notices were issued in March and before for different years totalling approximately Rs 3,500 crore.

The Congress on Sunday said it has received fresh notices from the Income Tax department, raising a tax demand of Rs 1,745 crore for the assessment years 2014-15 to 2016-17. With this latest notice, the Income Tax department has raised a total demand of Rs 3,567 crore from the party, it had said.

On Friday the party said it received notices from the I-T department, asking it to pay around Rs 1,823 crore. The tax authorities have already withdrawn Rs 135 crore from the party's accounts for a tax demand relating to previous years.

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