Nagpur, Dec 13: Congress leader and former finance minister P Chidambaram on Tuesday hit out at the Narendra Modi-led government's demonetisation move as the 'biggest scam of the year' and demanded that it be investigated.
Chidambaram said, "It has broken the back of poor people, a case of khoda pahad nikli chuhiya (Make a mountain out of a molehill)."
While addressing the media Chidambaram questioned, "I cannot get Rs 2,000 note. How crores in Rs 2,000 denomination got into the hands of hoarders while there was an acute shortage in banks?"
"Just as Dr Manmohan Singh said, 'this is monumental mismanagement'. Every bank says -- no cash. So how does the government says there is enough cash? What calculations did the government do to say that one can withdraw Rs 24,000 when banks don't have enough cash to dispense," Chidambaram said while addressing the media at an event in Nagpur.
He also asked why district-level cooperative banks have been kept out of this whole exercise. "Farmers were the ones suffering as they don't have money to buy seeds, hire labours or purchase fertilisers," Chidambaram said.
Calling demonetisation a 'thoughtless, meaningless' move he also said 45 crore people are dependent on daily wages. "Who is going to compensate them. Every major economist, newspaper in world has condemned it and called it as the most absurd move by the government," he stated.
On banks being unable to provide cash to customers, Chidambaram said it may take seven months to replace the equivalent of the banned Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency.
He further questioned, "Which country has cashless economy? Does US? Does Singapore have it? Where is electricity in this country? Where are the machines?"
He also asked why Modi did not bother to consult eminent economists like Manmohan Singh on the demonetisation issue.
"Government should have consulted at least Yashwant Sinha, he is their own man. They could have consulted Mr Manmohan Singh. Are they suggesting that the former PM if consulted by the present prime minister will betray a secret?" Chidambaram asked.