AAP alleges “loot” in property tax, BJP rejects charge as baseless

New Delhi: The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Monday alleged that the North Delhi Municipal Corporation doesn’t maintain any account related to property tax. Party chief spokesperson Saurabh Bharadwaj said the civic body was supposed to collect Rs 2,838 crore in property tax but it has got only Rs 1,703 crore.

The BJP dismissed the allegations as baseless.

“The biggest betrayal by the BJP-ruled North MCD is that they do not maintain any proper documentation regarding the collection of property tax. The local MCD officials decide about the property tax collection from an individual establishment. The BJP-ruled MCD officials can change the use of the property, which means if a property is rented then they can show that it is not rented. If the property is vacant then they can show that it is being used for commercial purposes. In 2002, the BJP-ruled MCD decided that a survey will take place of all these properties (to check if the property is empty or being used) but nothing happened,” he said at a press conference.

Bharadwaj added that in the absence of a survey, the loss of revenue on account of property tax cannot be assessed. “They have never maintained any kind of assessment books…The AAP demands that BJP leaders of Delhi should come clean about such incidents and tell the people of Delhi the reality behind such massive corruption,” he said.

Responding to AAP’s allegations, Delhi BJP general secretary Harsh Malhotra said that since 2004, the self assessment scheme is being followed for property tax evaluation by civic bodies. “People file their own assessments and pay tax as per applicable category and rates. MCDs do random check on some 10% returns. It is possible that a small section of tax payers might be misusing the method but by and large the self assessment scheme has given people freedom from the Inspector Raj. The AAP has been constantly raising baseless allegations of misappropriation of property tax, demanding service of notices to assessees. Does AAP want revival of Inspector Raj in MCDs property tax departments?” Malhotra asked.

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