The bank account of Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) has been seized by the Municipal Corporation of Aligarh, or Nagar Nigam, after they claimed AMU had property tax of 14 crores overdue. The University, in an official press release, has stated that the matter is subjudice in the Allahabad High Court, and the Corporation owes the varsity 9 crores instead.
While speaking to ANI, Vinay Kumar Rai, Chief Taxation Officer, Aligarh, said that the Aligarh administration had given AMU ample opportunities to pay the dues, but they failed to do the same.
“There was property tax due of around Rs 14 crore of Aligarh Municipal Corporation on AMU. It was pending for the last 8 to 10 years. In 2019 we have seized the accounts. We have given them enough chances and asked them to pay the dues but they did not do so. Hence we were forced to take the decision of seizing the bank account of Aligarh Muslim University,” Vinay Kumar Rai told ANI.
The official said that if payments are not deposited within a week, then “money from AMU’s account will be transferred to Municipal Corporation” and we will also consider obfuscating the property if needed.
In an official response, on Tuesday, Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) explained that it had written letters to the Minister of Education and the University Grants Commission to address the issue of Aligarh Nagar Nigam’s property tax payments.
AMU further explained that the matter was subjudice and that the case is pending before the High Court of Allahabad. AMU’s plea is also being heard by the Court of Minor Cases. The university paid house tax for residential areas, and was exempted from the Aligarh Nagar Palika for classrooms, laboratories and libraries, as per the release.
In addition, the University says that it has an outstanding amount against Aligarh Nagar Nigam of over Rs nine crores, as Nigam has not paid electricity usage charges for its water supply tube wells.
AMU further explained that the High Court granted a similar house tax exemption to other central institutions, including Banaras Hindu University.
Finally, the varsity also expressed concern of jeopardizing the efforts against the coronavirus pandemic. They said that the Covaxin Phase III trial, the Bharat Biotech Covid-19 vaccine, was being performed at Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College (JNMC). JNMC has been treating patients with coronavirus and has performed over two lakh Covid tests so far and the account seizure will “have a negative effect on the fight of JNMC against the Covid pandemic.”