Congress deputy leader in Lok Sabha Capt Amarinder Singh on Wednesday questioned the timing and the motive of the Narendra Modi government in seeking “selective” information from the Swiss authorities about the purported account details of his wife and Patiala MLA Preneet Kaur and son Raninder Singh.
In a statement, Amarinder said despite his wife and son having already furnished all details and answers to all questions raised by the Union income tax department from time to time, the central government with an “obvious questionable motive” wanted to highlight this particular case.
“The matter of foreign bank accounts is pending before the income tax authorities since 2011, where it has been clearly stated that neither my wife and son nor I have any foreign bank account,” he clarified, while pointing out that the Swiss authorities, in their notification, had nowhere stated that Preneet Kaur and Raninder Singh had Swiss bank account(s). “This notification is a matter of procedure to be followed in respect of individuals whose names are sent by the Indian government inquiring about accounts,” he added.
Amarinder said the move was clearly aimed by the BJP government at the Centre to help its beleaguered partner in Punjab, which had been cornered in the recent past for multiple failures. “This is a desperate attempt by the BJP to malign my image before the 2017 Punjab polls without any iota of truth in the allegations,” he said.
The former Punjab chief minister said it was Narendra Modi who, during the parliamentary election campaign, had raised the issue and named him, in April 2014 at Barmer in Rajasthan, while addressing an election rally. He said that at that time also, he (Modi) raised this baseless issue as the BJP had been cornered in Amritsar with the party finding that its candidate Arun Jaitley, currently his finance minister, was trailing and was certain to lose, which he eventually did by a margin of over one lakh votes.
He said Jaitley had still not come to terms with his loss in Amritsar and is pursuing the matter with a vindictive mindset. “How come this issue of foreign accounts gains relevance before the state elections -- first in 2011 (before 2012 Punjab polls) and now (before 2017 polls),” he said.
Amarinder said that as the Congress is proposing a reshuffle in the party unit in Punjab and the Akali Dal-BJP feel threatened by him, they have resorted to their dirty trick of using the income tax department and other central agencies against their opponents.
“No wonder, all our opponents in Punjab -- the Akali Dal, BJP and Aam Aadmi Party -- are celebrating the selective leak as if they have found us guilty of a grave offence,” he remarked, adding that he had reiterated time and again that the family did not hold any foreign accounts and relevant documents in the form of evidence had been submitted to the income tax authorities.