Cong says will probe post-note ban deposits if voted to power
New Delhi: Hitting out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi with new facts, the Congress on Monday accused the PM of destroying the economy through demonetisation. The Congress also claimed that if voted to power, it will probe the post-note ban deposits in tax havens and Indian banks, including a Gujarat bank with BJP President Amit Shah as its director which had netted a very high amount of money.
The Congress' fresh attack against Modi on demonetisation came following revelations that the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had contested the impact of the move, particularly in the context of its stated objective of curbing black money and counterfeit notes.
Citing the minutes of the RBI's central board of directors' meeting held just prior to Modi's November 8, 2016, announcement, senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said that the government imposed demonetisation on the RBI and termed it a "huge money lacquering scheme".
The minutes of the RBI board meeting attended by the then Governor Urjit Patel were obtained and made public by RTI activist Venkatesh Nayak.
"The fact that the directors were not convinced by the objectives which the government sought to achieve, particularly the impact on black money and counterfeit notes, proves that the demonetisation decision was imposed on the RBI which ultimately devastated the Indian economy," Ramesh told reporters here on Monday.
The senior Congress spokesperson further said that Patel, while appearing before three parliamentary panels, never revealed about the minutes of the RBI board meeting or about their concerns.
According to the minutes, the directors observed, "Most of the black money is held not in the form of cash but in the form of real-sector assets such as gold or real estate and that this move would not have a material impact on those assets."
"Rs 400 crore as a percentage of the total quantum of currency in circulation in the country is not very significant," the minutes further read.
Harping on these two points, Ramesh said that demonetisation not only devastated the economy, destroyed millions of jobs and broke the backbone of the small traders, but it was also a huge money laundering scheme.
"When the Congress will come to power, we will probe all the aspects of demonetisation. From the huge money deposited in a Gujarat cooperative bank of which Amit Shah is a director, to the spate of purchase of properties by the BJP just before and after demonetisation," he said.
"We will also look into how demonetisation was used to launder black money through foreign tax havens. Demonetisation is a scam and the Congress government will investigate all the angles," Ramesh said.