Tax-exempted income of the 10 main political parties in the last five years touched a whopping Rs. 2,490 crore, with the Congress and the BJP accounting for around 80 per cent of the amount, according to official data.

The information came through a petition filed by Hisar-based RTI activist Ramesh Verma before the I-T department.

The income could be more, as the political parties’ income figures between 2007-08 and 2011-12 received from the department through the RTI plea does not incorporate a large number of small donations below Rs. 20,000.

The Congress had a tax-exempted income to the tune of Rs. 1385.36 crore, more than double that of the BJP, which recorded Rs. 682 crore.

BJP ally JD(U)’s tax-free income in this period except for 2008-09 has been Rs. 15.51 crore.

Mayawati’s BSP recorded an income of Rs. 147.18 crore in three financial years 2007-08, 2008-09 and 2011-12. It filed incomplete returns in 2009-10 and had no tax-exempted income in 2010-11.

Sharad Pawar’s NCP had a tax-exempted income of Rs. 141.34 crore in the five-year period.

According to the information provided by the IT department, the CPI(M) recorded an income of Rs. 85.61 crore in four years in this period while it had nil income in 2008-09.

CPI’s income in 2008-09 and 2009-10 is pegged at Rs. 28.47 crore.

The JD(S) had an earning of Rs. 7.16 crore in 2009-10 and 2010-11, while Ram Vilas Paswan’s LJP had a tax-exempted earning of Rs. 2.55 crore in four years from fiscal 2007 to fiscal 2011.

Lalu Prasad’s RJD earned Rs. 2.85 crore in three years from fiscal 2008 to fiscal 2011.

Political parties are exempted from tax on their income through Section 13A of IT Act 1961. However, they have to maintain a book of account for donations or income above Rs. 20,000.

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