194 Politicians Including 6 Former CMs Gave Fake PAN Details To Election Commission: Cobrapost
Recently, Cobrapost found after an analysis of over 2000 affidavits sworn in by the Election Commission for a 10-year period from 2006-2016, found that over 194 politicians across 23 states have faked their Permanent Account Number (PAN) details.
Verification by Election Commission
According to the law, a candidate is supposed to declare whether they have any criminal cases against them or conviction if any. They are also supposed to declare their assets by giving PAN details, a card that is issued by the Income Tax Department. If not revealed, the candidate might get disqualified under Section 125(A)(3) of the Representation of the People Act 1951.
Section 139A(7) of the Income Tax Act 1961 states “No person who has already been allotted a permanent account number under the new series shall apply, obtain or possess another permanent account number,” reports Cobrapost.
Recently, there has been a growing concern over PAN details being fake. Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has been investigating over 100 lawmakers for falsifying PAN details. The Supreme Court has also raised concern over the same issue.
This information clearly shows that the Election Commission of India does not verify the PAN details of their candidates. In most cases, the PAN details given by the candidates have been found non-existent, which means the Income Tax department never issued them.
Six chief ministers also falsified PAN details
Out of the 194 politicians, 6 former chief ministers, 10 sitting ministers, 8 former ministers and 54 sitting and 102 former members of Legislative Assembly (MLAs) falsified their PAN details. Politicians from 29 political parties including Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Indian National Congress, Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samajwadi Party, Janata Dal (United) (JD(U)), Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Hindustani Awami Morcha (S) among others are in the list.
Congress leads the pack with 72 politicians falsifying data and then Bharatiya Janata Party with 41 such cases. With 26 cases of incorrect reporting by politicians, Uttar Pradesh leads the pack. The big names that have been revealed in the investigation are that of former Assam Chief Ministers Tarun Gogoi and Bhumidhar Barman, former Chief Minister of Bihar, Jitan Ram Manjhi and former Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh Virbhadra Singh.
The fake details are created mostly by deviating one or two numbers here and there. Again, former Assam CM Tarun Gogoi used two different PAN numbers in 2006 and 2011. However, the Gogoi family actually witnessed a monumental rise in fortune between those years.
For Prem Kumar Dhumal, former Chief Minister of Himachal and BJP leader he quoted a PAN number during 2007 election that does not even exist. During the next election, he quoted another PAN number.
These revelations are important as the CBDT is currently investigating 98 MLAs and 7 Lok Sabha MPs for discrepancies in their assets and declared sources of income. Non-disclosure of assets might lead to legal action under Section 272 B of the Income Tax Act, 1961. The fine is Rs 10,000 for fake PAN details. The fine can go up with the subsequent investigation and revelation of income and asset discrepancy and tax fraud or tax evasion.
The entire report by Cobrapost can be read here.