New Delhi: An election watchdog has pointed out discrepancies in the income tax details submitted by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and Congress candidates in their nominations for the Panaji Assembly bypoll in Goa. In a release issued on Tuesday, the Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR) said the affidavits filed by AAP nominee Valmiki Naik for the 2017 state Assembly elections and the upcoming bypoll show a difference of over Rs 1 lakh in his I-T returns for the financial year 2015-16.
In his affidavit for the Panaji bypoll, Naik has shown his I-T returns as Rs 3,91,341 for 2015-16, while in his 2017 submission, he mentioned a figure of Rs 2,89,810 for the same period, the ADR said. It also pointed out that Congress candidate Atanasio Monserratte in his affidavit for the upcoming bypoll has mentioned his I-T returns for 2015-16 as Rs 24,50,076, which is Rs 34,746 less than the Rs 24,84,822 figure submitted by him in his 2017 Assembly election affidavit.
While comparing his 2017 and 2019 affidavits, though Monserratte’s net worth went down by about Rs 9 crore in last two years, he declared Rs 1,69,84,756 as his I-T returns for 2017-18 and Rs 33,33,822 cash in hand each (self and spouse) on the date of filing nomination on April 29, the ADR said. When contacted, North Goa’s district election officer R Menaka said she will look into the matter.
Naik and Monserratte could not be contacted for their response to ADR’s findings. In the 2017 Assembly polls, BJP leader Siddharth Kunkolienkar won the Panaji seat located in North Goa district, while Monserratte, who then contested as an Independent, stood second, and Naik came third.
Kunkolienkar vacated the seat later that year to allow then chief minister Manohar Parrikar to contest and enter the 40-member Goa Assembly. The Panaji Assembly bypoll was necessitated due to the death of sitting MLA Parrikar on March 17.
The BJP has nominated Kunkolienkar to take on Monserratte, who is now contesting on Congress’ ticket, and Naik in the bypoll to be held May 19..