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Demonetisation: Probe How New Rs 2,000 Notes Reached Hoarders, Says Chidambaram

File image of Congress leader and former Finance Minister P Chidambaram. (Image: PTI)

File image of Congress leader and former Finance Minister P Chidambaram. (Image: PTI)

Congress on Tuesday broadened its attack on demonetisation with former finance minister P Chidambaram accusing Prime Minister Narendra Modi of "shifting goalposts" by talking on cashless economy after initially pitching it as an anti-black money move.

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New Delhi: Congress on Tuesday broadened its attack on demonetisation with former finance minister P Chidambaram calling for a probe into how freshy-minted Rs 2000 notes got into the hands of hoarders while there was an acute shortage in banks.

He said most people including him were struggling to get cash because it was not available in banks and ATMs while seizures by enforcement agencies showed bundles of Rs 2000 notes with hoarders.

"This is the biggest scam of the year. This is the one that should be investigated," Chidambaram said at a press conference.

Accusing Prime Minister Narendra Modi of "shifting goalposts" by talking on cashless economy after initially pitching it as an anti-black money move Chidambaram said: "In his November 8 speech PM Modi mentioned the word black money 18 times. In his two speeches on November 27 he mentioned black money 8 times and cashless economy 27 times."

He pointed out that no country is actually cashless and that especially in India low-value transactions are always done in currency notes.

Calling demonetisation a "thoughtless, meaningless" move he said it will irrepairably damage 45 crore people of the country who depended on daily wages for their livelihood.

"45 crore people in this country depend on their daily income. Tomorrow nobody will compensate them for that," he said.

"Nearly 45 crore people in this country depend on their daily income. Tomorrow nobody will compensate them for that," he said pointing out that the rich were unfazed by demonetisation.

He also questioned the black money math saying that if all the Rs 15 lakh crore that was withdrawn returned to banks then it would raise doubts on the rationale behind demonetisation.

"It is a case of khoda pahad nikli chuhiya (dug a mountain and found a mouse)," Chidambaram quipped.

"The government should have consulted at least Yashwant Sinha, he is their own man. They could have consulted Dr Manmohan Singh. There are over a 100 officers involved in budget making, till today it's never leaked. What secrecy is this?" the former finance minister said.

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