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'They Must Have Something to Hide': Jaitley Slams Andhra Pradesh, Bengal for Shutting Doors to CBI

Speaking at the BJP headquarters during the release of the party manifesto for the upcoming assembly elections, Jaitley said states could not have sovereignty on issues of corruption.

Vivek Trivedi | News18

Updated:November 17, 2018, 5:53 PM IST
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'They Must Have Something to Hide': Jaitley Slams Andhra Pradesh, Bengal for Shutting Doors to CBI
File photo of Union Minister Arun Jaitley.
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Bhopal: Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Saturday lashed out at the governments of Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal over withdrawing ‘general consent’ for CBI investigations, saying they must have “something to hide”.

Speaking at the BJP headquarters during the release of the party manifesto for the upcoming assembly elections, Jaitley said states could not have sovereignty on issues of corruption.

“The CBI was formed in a federal structure and had primarily the responsibility of probing issues against central government staff and serious cases referred to it by courts,” he said. “There can’t be states’ sovereignty on the issue of corruption,” Jaitley said, adding, “How can Income Tax officers working in these states act against offenders if the CBI is not allowed to enter?”

On Friday, the Andhra Pradesh government issued a notification withdrawing consent accorded to officers of the investigation agency to carry out search and operations without informing it first. Later in the day, the West Bengal government too followed suit and withdrew the free pass or "general consent" to the country's top investigation agency.

Attacking the Bengal government for the move, Jaitley said the Saradha-Narada scams would not end if the CBI was kept away. The minister alleged that the top leadership of the Trinamool Congress was involved in the scams, adding that Andhra Pradesh was averse to the agency as it feared the consequences of a probe.

Asked about the high prices of petrol and diesel, the finance minister said it was a cause of concern around the globe and whenever crude oil prices reduced, fuel rates were slashed. He also tried passing the buck to the Congress, claiming the Centre and BJP-ruled states offered price reduction in 2017 and 2018 but the states ruled by the grand old party failed to extend relief to the common man.

Underlining the achievements of the Modi government, Jaitley referred to the Ease of Doing Business Rankings, saying “Congress left us at 142 rank globally and we made phenomenal improvement because of which India has reached the 77th rank. We are now looking optimistically at a place among top 50 countries”.

He added that post 2014, India had transformed from a fragile economyto a growing economy and listed the initiatives taken by the Modi government in the areas of rural electrification, road network, foodgrain security, Ujjwala scheme and MSP revision among others.

Praising Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan for bringing out Madhya Pradesh from the bunch of BIMARU states, he criticised the 10-year rule of the Digvijaya Singh government.

When questioned about the fact that the state had also seen a sharp rise in debts, the Union minister asked the media to avoid raising queries without complete information, like the Congress chief. Referring to the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act, Jaitley said most of the states, including MP, were borrowing money under the permissible limits.

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