Tripura ministers, MLAs gets IT notice for not providing returns

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Agartala, May 25 (IANS) Income Tax authorities have served notices to several Tripura ministers and legislators belonging to Left parties for allegedly not providing returns to the IT authorities, officials and party leaders said here on Wednesday.

“Income Tax authorities under the directions of the union finance ministry have served notices under section 131 of the Income Tax Act, 1961 to several Tripura ministers and MLAs to provide details about their income,” an official of the Income Tax (IT) department here told IANS on condition of anonymity.

He said: “The ministers and legislators have to personally meet the IT officials in Guwahati and submit details about their income. This is not a serious issue. It is a routine affair.”

The official said that the ministers and MLAs (Member of Legislative Assembly) have to explain about their total income and the income shown in the affidavits submitted along with their nomination papers during the last assembly elections in February 2013.

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So far three ministers, PWD and Health Minister Badal Chaudhury, Forest Minister Naresh Jamatia, Social Welfare Minister Bijita Nath and Tripura assembly member Keshab Debbarma have received the IT notices.

The IT official said: “All the ministers and legislators who did not submit the IT returns are supposed to get the same notice and have to personally meet the IT officials in Guwahati.”

Section 131 of the Income Tax Act, 1961 empowers the income tax authorities to conduct inquiries. It provides powers to summon persons or witnesses, examine them under oath, compel production of books of account and documents and issue commissions.

Confirming the receipt of the IT notice for the first time, CPI-M (Communist Party of India-Marxist) Tripura state committee secretary Bijan Dhar said that as per the law all the ministers and MLAs would do the needful in response to the IT notice.

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“Currently Tripura’s Left Front ministers are getting salaries on an average Rs.40,000 and the MLAs Rs.30,000 per month. According to our party guideline, all ministers and MLAs belonging to CPI-M have to deposit their full salaries to the party fund and in return the party gives them Rs.14,000 per month as allowance,” Dhar told IANS.

Dhar, a CPI-M central committee member, said the ministers and MLAs while submitting affidavit along with their nomination papers during the last assembly elections in February 2013 had shown the allowance given by the party.

He said that already MLA Keshab Debbarma in response to the IT notice went to Guwahati to meet the officials.

The Tripura assembly last month passed a bill hiking the salaries and allowances of the chief minister, ministers, speaker, deputy speaker and legislators by 15 percent.

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