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Congress compares Modi with Tughlaq as 99% of banned notes return to banks

The opposition Congress, which has been questioning the government’s drive, said the central bank’s report vindicates the party’s position that demonetisation was the “biggest scam”.

black money crackdown Updated: Aug 31, 2017 17:47 IST
Aurangzeb Naqshbandi
Aurangzeb Naqshbandi
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Congerss,Narendra Modi,Muhammad bin Tughlaq
A man gets his old 500 rupees notes exchanged with 100 rupees in Mumbai on November 10.(Arijit Sen/HT File Photo)

The Congress compared Prime Minister Narendra Modi with whimsical 14th-century Delhi monarch Muhammad bin Tughlaq for his decision to demonetise two-high-value notes last year and demanded his resignation on Thursday for “misleading” the nation.

The criticism came a day after the RBI indicated that almost 99% of scrapped notes returned to the banking system, thereby indicating low efficacy of the November 8 recall of 500- and 1,000-rupee bills that wiped Rs 15.44 lakh crore out of circulation.

“PM Modi would go down in the history of the country alongside Muhammad bin Tughlaq. He made disaster of demonetisation and wrecked India’s economy,” Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said.

The opposition Congress, which has been questioning the government’s drive, said the central bank’s report vindicates the party’s position that demonetisation was the “biggest scam” laced with false statements by the Prime Minister.

“PM Modi would go down in the history of the country alongside Muhammad bin Tughlaq. He made disaster of demonetisation and wrecked India’s economy,” party spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said.

“Will PM Modi introspect today and apologise to the nation? If morality has any foundation, will he now step aside for lying to the nation and misleading the nation?”

According to the RBI report, Rs 15.28 lakh crore returned to the system by way of public deposits. Thus, only Rs 16,000 crore of old notes did not return to the banks.

“What has India gained?” Surjewala asked and added that the cost of printing new notes came to Rs 26,000 crore.

The opposition party stepped up its attack on the BJP-led NDA government over the demonetisation drive. After the Supreme Court verdict on right to privacy last week, the central bank’s note ban report gave another handle to the Congress to corner the government.

Surjewala said the Prime Minister had declared that demonetisation will end terrorism and Maoist extremism, but there have been 36 major terrorist attacks in Jammu and Kashmir alone, in which 58 soldiers and 36 civilians were killed.

“There have been 13 major Maoist attacks in which 69 security personnel and 81 civilians died. Will the Prime Minister now answer who is responsible for 104 deaths due to demonetisation?” he asked.

Senior Congress leader Anand Sharma called demonetisation the biggest scam for converting “black money into white”.

He said the attorney general representing the government had told the Supreme Court about Rs 5 lakh crore of terrorist funding will not return to the banking system.

“Where is that money? They have been repeatedly misleading the country.”

Sharma said the Prime Minister is responsible for the shock decision that triggered job loss and forced many enterprises to wind up their businesses.

First Published: Aug 31, 2017 17:47 IST