A day after the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) announced that 99 per cent of the demonetised currency had been returned to the system, Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Thursday launched a scathing attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, alleging that note ban had only helped the prime minister’s “crony capitalist friends”.
While addressing the media in the national capital, Rahul said, “Prime Minister Narendra Modi carried out demonetisation to help 15-20 of his crony capitalist friends. That was the aim of demonetisation. PM’s friends converted black money into white money during demonetisation.”
He added, “Demonetisation was nothing but a huge scam. The evidence is slowly coming out.”
— AICC Communications (@AICCMedia) August 30, 2018
While referring to an RTI reply which said the Ahmedabad District Cooperative Bank (ADCB) had exchanged junked notes worth Rs 745.58 crore in five days after demonetisation was announced, the Congress leader took a swipe at the prime minister and said, “PM Modi was right when he said his government had done what no one could do in 70 years. He must answer why he did this.”
He added, “Demonetisation was not a mistake, it was a deliberate move. During the UPA regime, non-performing assets were Rs 2.5 lakh crore. It has now jumped to Rs 12.5 lakh crore.”
The Congress chief also ridiculed the idea of demonetisation, saying it had hit the economy badly. “PM Modi must answer to the youth of the country on demonetisation which has hit the economy, brought down the GDP by two per cent and affected crores of jobs,” Rahul said.
He added, “I have no problem in creating a Joint Parliamentary Committee, where all facts can be disclosed.”
On Wednesday, the RBI claimed to have received Rs 15.31 lakh crore of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes, or 99.3 per cent of the Rs 15.417 lakh crore worth of notes which were in circulation as on November 8, 2016, when the government announced demonetisation. This effectively means that just Rs 10,720 crore of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes failed to come back to the RBI, as against expectations that well over Rs 3 lakh crore of black money would not return to the banking system.
Continuing his attack on the Centre, the Congress chief raked up the Rafale deal and raised questions over the alleged deal between PM Modi and industrialist and Reliance Group chairman Anil Ambani.
“The Rafale deal is a clear-cut case. Anil Ambani never made any aircraft. He had a loan of Rs 45,000 crore and opened a company just 10 days before the deal. HAL has been making aircraft for the past 70 years. Why was an aircraft worth Rs 520 crore brought for Rs 1,600 crore?” Rahul asked.
He added, “The entire country wants to know what was the deal struck between Modi and Ambani. A Joint Parliamentary Committee must be brought in to clarify.”
On Anil Ambani filing defamation suits against several Congress leaders, he said, “Anil Ambani can file as many defamation suits he wants but he cannot change the truth, which is, note ban was implemented to help 15-20 crony capitalists.”
In no time the BJP hit back at the Congress leader on both demonetisation and the Rafale deal. Taking to Twitter, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said, “Little knowledge is dangerous. Rahul Gandhi’s fiction on ‘demonetisation helping NPA holders’, forgets that the Modi Government legislated and enforced the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code where the NPA defaulters lost their companies.”
.Little knowledge is dangerous. @RahulGandhi’s fiction on ‘demonetisation helping NPA holders’, forgets that the Modi Government legislated and enforced the IBC where the NPA defaulters lost their companies.
— Arun Jaitley (@arunjaitley) August 30, 2018
Responding to Rahul’s allegations on the Rafale deal, Jaitley said, “Rahul Gandhi has not read my question- The fully weaponised Rafale air craft’s 2016 price is 20% cheaper than the 2007 offer. This is what the 2015 statement of the PM and the French President refers to as ‘on terms better than the 2007 offers’.”
He added, “Any issue diversion by Rahul Gandhi on my Rafale questions, will not wipe out his falsehood on Rafale.”