New Delhi: Two days after the RBI said 99.3 per cent of the old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes banned overnight in November 2016 had been returned, former finance minister P Chidambaram launched a scathing attack on the government, accusing it of devising demonetisation to help people convert black money to white.
“If all [demonetised currency] has come back to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), then the logical conclusion is that Rs 3-4 lakh crore of black money has been converted to white. So, there is a suspicion, in fact it's a charge, that you devised this demonetisation only to enable people with black money to convert it into white,” Chidambaram told ANI.
He said the government had claimed that Rs 3-4 lakh crore would not return to the RBI and that would be the black money stock.
Hitting back at NITI Aayog vice-chairman Rajiv Kumar’s statement that demonetisation had helped reduce cash transactions, the Congress leader said, “Cash in hands of people is almost 1.4% more than what it was on November 8, 2016. Why are people holding cash? They are less confident about putting cash in banks and more comfortable with keeping it at home.”
Kumar, while lauding note ban for encouraging digital transactions, had said on Thursday, “Who said the aim of demonetisation was to get back less money? Demonetisation has impacted the markets and market psychology. How much transaction used to take place in cash (before the note ban), and what is the position now?”
Chidambaram also took a dig at finance minister Arun Jaitley, saying several people thought he was not taken into confidence before demonetisation was announced.
Armed with the RBI report, Congress president Rahul Gandhi had also attacked on Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the exercise, calling it a huge scam.
Gandhi said Modi had promised the nation that with demonetisation, black money, fake currency and terror financing would end, but the RBI report had established that it completely failed on all the three counts.