In a strong criticism of the Modi government, top industrialist Rahul Bajaj today said its "shine seems to be wearing off" and also lashed out at the new black money law...
In a strong criticism of the PM Narendra Modi government, top industrialist Rahul Bajaj today said its “shine seems to be wearing off” and also lashed out at the new black money law saying it could be used to harass people.
Rahul Bajaj, who has been an ardent admirer of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the past, said the government was creating roadblocks for itself in many of its initiatives, including in terms of ease of doing business.
On the black money law, he said the drafting appears to have been done with a ‘vengeance’ and there is a fear that the foreign asset disclosure made by people during the three-month compliance period could be used against them.
“Everybody is saying… I-T, Enforcement Directorate, people at those levels are same as they were before. You will be harassed,” Rahul Bajaj told NDTV in an interview, while talking about his views on declaration of foreign assets under the new law.
Expressing concern that those who have declared were not being guaranteed protection from future prosecution, Bajaj said: “I declare it and then you say it’s an illegal declaration.”
In such a case, he said, people would prefer going to the courts and fighting it out, rather than making the declartion.
“I can’t declare. I won’t declare. I will take my chances, go to Supreme Court, and fight it out. In my lifetime, nothing will happen to me,” he said.
Critical of the way the law has been drafted, Bajaj said: “I think drafting has been done with a clear presumption, which I feel, I can’t say for the whole group. I have no sympathy for people who did that. So, this has been done with a vengeance.”
Under the new law, those availing the one-time ‘compliance window’ would be required to pay a tax of 30 per cent and a penalty of a similar amount.
As per the law, which has been passed by Parliament and would come into force from April 1, 2016, the penalty would be much higher at 90 per cent, in addition to a 30 per cent tax on undisclosed foreign assets, while such persons would also face criminal prosecution with a jail term of up to ten years.
Bajaj also expressed unhappiness over the manner in which the government was handling several key issues.
“You want money to come in, you want ease of doing business, you want to collect this money…the way you are doing it, you are yourself creating roadblocks for yourself,” he said.
Taking examples of BJP’s setbacks in Delhi assembly elections and panchayat polls in West Bengal, Bajaj hinted that after a resounding victory in May 2014, the Modi magic is waning.
“I am not against this government but the fact does remain that shine seems to be wearing off.”
He said if the BJP forms a good government in Bihar, “at least there is some redemption” and “there is some hope (for the BJP in assembly elections) in Bengal, Kerala, Assam, Pondicherry.”