Facing the heat over the alleged PNB fraud case, the Bharatiya Janata Party on Monday hit back at the UPA government, saying the banking system was dented under the “so-called economist Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.”
“Congress party is anti-reform and it has been indulging in the politics of fear and confusion in the last four years,” Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said while addressing the media.
Accusing the previous UPA dispensation of not allowing the correct data to be entered into bank records, Prasad said, “Time and again we have stated that not a single loan given under our govt is Non-Performing Asset. In 2008, the total advance to people given by the banks was Rs 18.06 lakh crores. By March ’14, the amount went up to Rs 52.15 lakh crore. The stressed asset identified out of this was only 36 per cent. Now the stressed asset has risen to 82 per cent out of that advances made in the UPA govt. This means for more than one occasions the correct data could not make it to the records. Under the so-called economist then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the entire banking system went haywire due to all kinds of interference with it.”
The remarks come at a time when CBI is investigating jewellers Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi in the alleged fraud of over Rs 12,700 crore. In January, PNB found the first evidence of fraud in which few of its employees issued fake Letters of Understanding (LoUs) to companies associated with Nirav Modi.
Prasad also accused the then finance minister P Chidambaram of helping Gitanjali Jewellers in 2014. “There was a Scheme 80:20 introduced in August 2013 and repealed in November 2014. On May 16th, 2014, the date of the declaration of results, the then Finance Minister gave ‘aashirvaad’ to seven private companies under 80:20 Scheme. One of those companies was Gitanjali. Mr Chidambaram please reply, is it jumla or blatant favouritism, mala fide conduct and rampant corruption? The Congress party should answer who were these people lobbying for Gitanjali and what was the cut.”
The BJP leader also targeted the Congress party over the Rafale deal controversy. “It is very surprising that the Congress party which is drowned in corruption in Bofors among other purchases of the weapons system is raising questions on Rafale deal. It couldn’t execute Rafale deal for ten years and are now creating a chaos when PM Modi has got the best deal in terms of price, effectiveness and weapon system.”
Taking a jibe against Congress chief Rahul Gandhi for not doing proper research before posing questions on Twitter, the BJP leader said, “Now once he is back from Italy, I expect him to answer our questions.”
Referring to the recently-concluded Northeast Assembly Elections, Prasad said, “While BJP is moving from ‘shunya to shikhar’, Congress is moving from ‘shikhar to shunya’.” Calling Nagaland election results as a “tectonic shift,” he said, “In a state with 80 per cent Christian population, 12 of our 20 candidates won the seats. This shows that people are coming forward under PM Modi’s vision of ‘Sabka saath, sabka vikaas’.”