The Congress on Wednesday accused the government of trying to weave a web of deception on the issue of black money to save its “crony capitalist friends”.
The main opposition party also challenged the government to bring even one of the fugitive economic offenders back to the country during a discussion on the Economic Offenders Bill in Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.
“Basically this government continues to try to weave a web of deception on the issue of black money because they have absolutely no intention of following through on their statements as they want to save their crony capitalist friends,” Congress Rajya Sabha member Rajeev Gowda told reporters.
Pointing out at media reports of fugitive diamond trader Mehul Choksi given the citizenship of Antigua, Mr Gowda expressed suspicion on whether there was any connection between Prime Minister Narendra Modi meeting the prime minister of Antigua before Chowksi getting the citizenship of that country.
“Prime Minister and met the Antigua Prime Minister, and a few months later we found that Mehul Choksi was given Antigua citizenship. What is the link between the two only those people know. But we have our suspicions,” he said.
Criticising the Economic Offenders Bill, the Congress leader said it was full of flaws that would result in Constitutional violations.
“This suggests that the government is not serious and it only intends to try and project an image of going after black money and fugitive economic offenders, but does not want to follow through,” he said.
Mr Gowda also accused Finance Minister Piyush Goyal of “deliberately omitting” a vital statistic from the BIS database which Mr Goyal was quoting on Tuesday.
“Goyal failed to tell us that in the last quarter, the same data showed that Indian deposits in the Swiss banks had gone up by 23 per cent,” he stated.
Alleging that the NDA government’s fight against black money is nothing but “headlines management” and “fake stories” planted in the media without any factual backing, Mr Gowda underlined that the Congress-led UPA government had presented a white paper whereby it tracked down black money worth Rs 1,30,800 crore in the last two years of its tenure.