Citing pre-poll claims made by top BJP leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi...
Citing pre-poll claims made by top Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress today accused the ruling party of “misleading” the country on the issue of black money for political benefits and demanded an apology.
Initiating the debate on the issue, Leader of Congress in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge said Modi had “played” with people’s emotions during Lok Sabha election campaign saying that every person will get Rs 15 lakh once illegal money stashed away in banks abroad is brought back.
He said BJP leaders had promised to bring back black money from abroad within 100 days of coming to power.
“Now you have become Prime Minister. You have all the power. I do not want to pain you but remind you,” he said, while noting that not a single penny has been brought back.
The debate under Rule 193, which does not entail voting, was taken up a day after the opposition vociferously raised the issue in both Houses of Parliament in an attempt to corner the government and wanted an urgent discussion.
Targeting the government, Kharge referred to government’s contention in Supreme Court that it could not disclose names of all suspect account holders due to treaties with foreign countries, he said its stand was similar to that of the UPA.
“If you are sad to say the same thing, then why did you defame the UPA government. You misled 125 crore people… You were in power earlier also. You know the difficulties of a government. You have an opportunity today to apologise to people for speaking untruth and making false promises,” he said.
He said various BJP leaders put the estimated sum of black money at different level with Rajnath Singh, now Home Minister, and Nitin Gadkari, now Transport Minister, claiming it to be Rs 25 lakh crore and Rs 21 lakh crore respectively.
“Does country benefit by inciting people’s sentiments?… You should speak with balance in public,” he said.
In his speech, BJP member Anurag Thakur hit out at Congress over its attempts to “save” those with foreign accounts having black money and said the first Cabinet decision BJP government took after coming to power was to constitute an SIT to probe it, something which Congress had been “avoiding” all the time.
“It was our government that gave the names of people having account in the HSBC banks in a sealed envelope to SIT. During the G-20 summit, Modi was the first to raise the issue of black money on a global platform,” Thakur said.
“You did not do anything in last 5-10 years. When you were in power, you were not committed to bring back black money and when you are not in power, you are still not committed to bring back the black money,” the BJP MP said.
He also attacked Trinamool Congress – one of the opposition parties leading the attack on the government on the black money issue – over the Saradha chit fund scam and said before discussing the black money abroad, one should first talk about what is happening within the country.
“Those who earned black money are sitting with black umbrellas in the House,” he said, attacking TMC on the issue.
TMC leader Sudip Bandhopadhyay said the government and Prime Minister Narendra Modi should apologise for misleading people by promising that black money stashed abroad would be brought back in 100 days of coming to power.
The government has completed about 180 days but has even one dollar of black money been brought back, he wondered.
He asserted that Trinamool Congress would support efforts of the government to bring back black money.
Before getting elected, Modi had assured people that he would bring back black money stashed abroad and put about Rs 15-20 lakh in the pockets of common people, he said.
The government should put the names of all black money holders on the Internet, Bandhopadhyay said.
Bandhopadhyay described Modi as a “NRI Prime Minister” as the Prime Minister has been travelling abroad frequently.
Responding to criticism regarding Saradha scam, the TMC leader said his party was ready for discussion on the issue and stressed that Mamata Banerjee’s credibility and honesty should not be questioned.
Venkatesh Babu (AIADMK) said steps should be taken to curb round tripping activities, whereby illicit money comes back into the system.
To curb flow of black money, he demanded that issuance of participatory notes in the stock makret should be stopped besides making money laundering a criminal offence.
Noting that government was citing fictitious premises in not disclosing names of black money holders, he wondered whether it would bring back illicit funds stashed abroad.
Veerappa Moily (Cong) said BJP should take a step forward in bringing back black money as in all these months they have moved 100 steps backwards.
“The Prime Minister owes an apology to Parliament that he failed to bring back black money within 100 days,” he said.
It is an issue that concerns the nation and its resources and money stashed abroad could might be routed to fund terrorism.