Pranab''s statement on blackmoney ''conspicuously evasive'': BJP

Written by: Pti
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New Delhi, Jan 25 (PTI) Dismissing Finance MinisterPranab Mukherjee''s statement on the black money stashed abroadas "delightfully vague and conspicuously evasive", BJP todayalleged the government was not serious about the issue as someof the culprits might be close to the Congress leadership.

"Mukherjee''s comment on foreign bank account deposits ofslush money is delightfully vague and conspicuously evasive.

There is no commitment to bring back the money or disclose thenames of the account-holders. It is completely lacking invision," BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said.

He recalled how BJP''s Prime Ministerial candidate L KAdvani had raised this issue during the 2009 Lok Sabhaelections but the Congress had said the opposition wasalerting the account holders.

"Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had called it an electionstunt... Congress had said in its election manifesto of 2009that it would take concrete measures to bring back the money.

After nearly two years, the government today said it will forma study group on the issue," Prasad said.

The main opposition asked the Prime Minister to be "trueto his word" and take action on the issue.

"If this is the stand of the Government of India, aftertwo years, then we can legitimately make an inference thatthis government is reluctant to show any meaningful efforts inunearthing this great scourge of our economy. Because if thenames are opened this government may have problems. Who knows,people close to it may find their names there," Prasad said.

Mukherjee today maintained that the government cannotdisclose information received from foreign entities on blackmoney held by Indians abroad because of absence of legalframework.

BJP suggested that since the Indian economy is nowstrong and no longer "Third World", we can leverage on itsstrength and demand that the names of these account holdersfrom the country be revealed to us.

Prasad made a special mention of the case of Hasan Ali,a Pune-based businessman, who allegedly owes Rs 76,000 croreto the government in taxes.

"He was detained and surprisingly his case was notpursued properly enabling him to get bail. There are alsoserious allegations against him of money laundering and it islearnt that the Swiss Bank authorities were willing to revealeverything about him, suddenly the whole process was sloweddown," Prasad alleged.

BJP charged that the government was only maintainingthat the issue would be examined and said such "evasive"action against Ali was an attempt to save him due to his"closeness" with people in high places.

"We shall raise this issue in and outside Parliament,"Prasad said.

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