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Note ban aimed at diverting focus from corruption charges against PM: Congress

Congress general secretary Shakeel Ahmad said the party wanted an impartial probe and sought to know why was Modi “afraid” to face an inquiry.

india Updated: Dec 29, 2016 21:36 IST
Congress general secretary Shakeel Ahmad addressing a press conference.
Congress general secretary Shakeel Ahmad addressing a press conference.(HT File Photo)

Continuing its attack on the Centre against demonetisation, the Congress on Thursday alleged that the exercise was undertaken to “divert the attention of opposition parties from the charges of personal corruption against Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

However, the party also stated not to read much into TMC chief Mamata Banerjee and party vice-president Rahul Gandhi holding a joint press conference on the issue on December 27.

Congress general secretary Shakeel Ahmad said the party wanted an impartial probe and sought to know why was Modi “afraid” to face an inquiry.

“When allegations of corruption were levelled against Sheila Dikshit by the BJP, she had clearly stated that she was ready for any probe to bring out the truth. So, why is Narendra Modi shying away from investigation? We want an impartial probe,” he said.

Read| Read my lips… I’ve information on PM Modi’s corruption: Rahul Gandhi

Ahmad alleged that the entire demonetisation move was directed to divert the attention of the opposition parties from the charges of the prime minister’s personal corruption.

“What has happened in the name of demonetisation is the role reversal of Robin Hood. About Rs 1,40,000 crore owned by some industrialists have been written off, while the money of the poor is stuck in the banks. Why is the Modi government not waiving the loans of poor farmers as the Congress had done during the UPA regime,” he asked.

The Congress leader also alleged that the RBI had “compromised with its autonomy” as regards the demonetisation drive.

Read| Demonetisation, GST to transform India, NPAs key risk: RBI

“RBI was supposed to be an autonomous institution. It has undoubtedly compromised on its autonomy,” he said.

On the recent press conference which saw Mamata Banerjee and Rahul Gandhi sharing a dias, the Congress declined to comment on the Narada and Saradha scams, but said there was no need to read much into joint address.

“There is nothing to read much into it. Many political parties have come together on the issue of demonetisation. And on this issue, both the TMC and the Congress are on the same page,” Congress general secretary and national spokesperson Shakeel Ahmad said.

Ahmad, who had served as the party’s observer during the 2011 West Bengal Assembly polls, said, “We are running a government in Bihar as a coalition partner of the JD(U), but Nitish Kumar had earlier supported demonetisation. So, does it mean that our alliance doesn’t exist? The same logic applies to Bengal as regards the relationship between the Congress and the TMC.”

He also refused to give a reply to the question on why the Congress was willing to align with the TMC on demonetisation and black money when the party’s Bengal unit has accused the TMC of being involved in the Narada and Saradha scams.

“Our fight is against the personal corruption of Narendra Modi. There are several chief ministers in India who have corruption cases and allegations against them. We are not here to talk about them,” said the Congress leader.

Incidentally, Ahmad at the press conference was seated beside leader of Opposition in the West Bengal Assembly and senior Congress leader Abdul Mannan whose PIL in the Supreme Court led to the CBI investigation in the Saradha scam.

Ahmad said the party had not yet decided to hold any joint protest with the TMC on the issue of demonetisation.

His comments came only two days after Banerjee, along with Rahul Gandhiand leaders of other regional parties, sought to put up a united face against demonetisation by demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The latest thaw in the ties comes as the Congress and the Left Front had struck up an alliance for this year’s West Bengal Assembly election, which Banerjee had termed as “unethical and immoral”.

The West Bengal chief minister on Wednesday extended her warm wishes and greetings to the members of the Congress on the party’s 132nd foundation day.