The Congress on Monday approached the Delhi High Court against the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal order dismissing the plea seeking a stay on the recovery of over Rs 105 crore as outstanding tax from the party, Bar and Bench reported.

On March 8, the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal dismissed the Congress’ plea to stay the Income Tax Department’s proceedings of freezing the party’s bank accounts in connection with a dispute pertaining to a tax demand.

Appearing for the Congress on Monday, senior advocate Vivek Tankha mentioned the matter before a bench of Acting Chief Justice Manmohan and Justice Tushar Rao Gedela.

“This is the peak time for elections,” Tankha told the court. “If we do not have the money, how will we fight? ITAT [Income Tax Appellate Tribunal] had protected us but now that is gone."

The bench allowed the immediate listing of the matter.

The Congress on February 16 announced that its bank accounts had been frozen on “flimsy grounds” in connection with a tax demand dispute. Congress treasurer Ajay Maken said that the accounts were frozen on an income tax demand of Rs 210 crore for the financial year 2018-’19.

Later in the day, the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal allowed the Congress to operate its bank accounts but ordered it to maintain Rs 115 crore as a lien, effectively freezing these funds.

A lien is a legal claim against the assets of an individual or business accused of having failed to meet tax liabilities.

Maken had said that freezing the accounts of the Opposition party just before the Lok Sabha elections and hampering its political activities is “equivalent to freezing the democracy”.

On February 21, the Congress alleged that the Income Tax Department had ordered Rs 65 crore to be withdrawn from the accounts “undemocratically” even though proceedings are underway before an appellate authority.