Former finance minister and BJP leader Yashwant Sinha said on Friday that finance minister P Chidambaram played “fraud” with the budget, adding that the next government should come out with a “white paper” on the matter.
Sinha’s remarks came a day after Chidambaram described Sinha’s tenure as finance minister as the worst years for the Indian economy since 1991.
“I may have been the worst finance minister after 1991, but I did not commit fraud. Chidam­baram has been the cleverest finance minister since 1991 and has played fraud on the budget not only this year but always,” Sinha said in a statement.
Sinha said Chidambaram is achieving his fiscal deficit target by “savagely cutting” the plan or productive expenditure of the government.
“He (Chidambaram) has also milked the cash rich PSUs, and forced tax payers to pay more advance tax in financial year 2013-14 which will have to be refunded this year,” he said.
In an interview published in HT on Thursday, Sinha, who headed the parliamentary standing committee on finance, had favoured hastening of tax reforms including accelerating the implementation of the goods and services tax (GST) and the direct taxes code (DTC), which drew sharp criticism from Chidambaram.
On Friday, Sinha shot back saying that Chidambaram cannot blame the BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat governments for delaying the GST Bill.
On DTC, Sinha said the standing committee had submitted the report a couple of years ago and if the UPA government failed to finalise its views “that fault lies with it and not with me.”
“Let me remind him that it is not my tenure in the finance ministry, which ended 12 years ago, which is in question. It is the performance of Chidambaram and Manmohan Singh on the economic front which is under question in this election,” he said.