Business India

Congress terms demonetisation ‘biggest scam’, PM must accept moral responsibility

The Congress party on Thursday termed demonetisation as the “biggest scam” and accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of misleading the people, saying that he had repeatedly made “false statements” on the decision to junk high-value currency. The party demanded that Modi should accept moral responsibility and must apologise.

Addressing a press conference here, senior Congress leader Anand Sharma said the Prime Minister had made “false remarks” in his Independence Day speech about the quantum of black money that was unearthed after Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes were scrapped on November 8 last year.

Sharma said demonetisation had led to a loss of GDP of Rs 2.25 lakh crore and the Prime Minister was “directly responsible”.

“People will accept the truth, they can also accept that a mistake has been made, but it is wrong to state repeatedly that everything done was right,” he said.

Sharma’s remarks come after the RBI’s annual report on Wednesday revealed low efficacy of the November 8 demonetisation. It said that of the Rs. 15.44 lakh crore taken out of circulation, Rs 15.28 lakh crore had returned to the system by way of public deposits.

He said the Attorney General had told the Supreme Court that due to demonetisation an amount of Rs 4-5 lakh crore related to terror funding will not come back to the system.

“The government has not spoken the truth at every step. People have been misled, inconvenienced. This has been the biggest scam. Those who had illegal money, the government has helped them make it legal,” Sharma said.

He also said the Prime Minister had given four reasons for demonetisation – first was to fight corruption, second to fight black money, third to stop terror funding and fourth to eliminate fake currency notes in circulation.

“RBI’s report has exposed the falsehood that was sold to the country. All the four reasons which Modi gave, proved to be false. He inflicted misery upon the people of India, wrecked the country’s economy. Of the total currency returned, only Rs 41 crore was fake currency,” said Sharma.

“Prime Minister owes an explanation. He has to accept moral responsibility and must apologize to the country and we will continue to force accountability on this issue,” he added.

Sharma also said Modi made a false statement on August 15 that out of the money which has come back, Rs three lakh crore was black money.

On Finance Minister Arun Jaitley saying that tax payers’ base has expanded after demonetization, Sharma said: “If he thinks that he is a great economist, it is the biggest tragedy. He does not understand ‘E’ of Economics.

“According to the Economic Survey, there is an increase in the number of tax payers, but there has already been an increase and there is no uniform increase every year depending on peoples’ income.

“This year the average increase is only from Rs 2,40,000 annual income to Rs 2,70,000. So, it is only an average jump of Rs 20,000 annually which is less than Rs 2,000 per month,” said Sharma.

Sharma said: “Investigation should be there. We have demanded that in the past too. The Supreme Court must take note of this as government has defied and misled the apex Court.”

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