99% of demonetised notes returned: Rahul says disaster, Mamata calls it big scam
Opposition parties launched a stinging attack on the Centre over last year’s demonetisation exercise, with the Congress seeking an apology from Prime Minister Narendra Modi after Reserve Bank of India (RBI) data showed that nearly 99% of the banned banknotes were deposited in banks.
The RBI annual report released on Wednesday raised doubts whether demonetisation achieved the government’s claims on the move as a “surgical strike” on black money.
Demonetisation critics say that tax evaders managed to legalise their unaccounted money through shell companies and proxies, made high-value purchases using backdated bills and colluded with bank officials to exchange old currency.
Watch: Modi says demonetisation timing was right: We don’t think so. (Published on Feb 10, 2017)
Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi tweeted that the move was a “colossal disaster” that “cost innocent lives” and “ruined” the economy”.
“Will the PM own up,” he said.
Former finance minister cited the RBI data to ridicule the central bank and the government.
In a series of tweets, Chidambaram also said the cost of printing new currency was more than the money gained by the RBI.
“Rs 16,000 crore out of demonetised notes of Rs 1,544,000 crore did not come back to RBI. That is 1 per cent. Shame on RBI which ‘recommended’ demonetisation,” he said in a tweet.
“99 per cent notes legally exchanged! Was demonetisation a scheme designed to convert black money into white?”
Watch: Why demonetisation may fail to win the war against black money . (Published on November 15, 2016)
Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said the Prime Minister should apologise as demonetisation not only dented institutional sanctity of the RBI but also India’s credibility abroad.
“(Former prime minister) Dr Manmohan Singh predicted that demonetisation will reduce GDP by 2 pc and it did. Only the economy suffered due to this massive folly!” he said in a tweet.
CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury also launched a stinging attack on the Centre, saying India can “never forgive” the Modi government for the “anti- national act”, which allegedly hit the country’s economy.
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee said the RBI data “points to a big scam”.
“Is not the RBI’s revelation this evening on demonetisation pointing to a big scam?” Banerjee wrote on her Facebook wall.
Because of demonetisation, the country lost Rs three lakh crore in the fourth quarter and hundreds of people died, she added.
“Demonetisation was supposedly done to uncover several lakhs of crores of black money. And now what we have got is a big big zero!” Banerjee said.
Samajwadi Party leader Naresh Agarwal said his party would move a privilege motion against RBI governor Urjit Patel for misleading a parliamentary panel on the issue.
(With agency inputs)