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Will check records since Independence: Modi warns black money holders

Indians support the government’s move to scrap some high-value banknotes despite hardships, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Saturday, warning that illegal cash hoarders will not be spared.

black money crackdown Updated: Nov 12, 2016 16:28 IST
Dhrubo Jyoti
Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses a gathering in Japan.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses a gathering in Japan.(Picture tweeted by @narendramodi )

The government will check records since Independence and not spare anyone with unaccounted-for cash, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Saturday, thanking the poor for supporting the scrapping of high-value banknotes to rein in illegal money.

Speaking at an event in Japan’s Kobe, Modi said he saluted the common people braving hardships and backing the government’s surprise decision to withdraw Rs 1000 and Rs 500 notes – a move that has triggered panic and confusion across the country.

Read | Cash crunch, ATM under-utilisation, logistical issues make demonetisation a pain

“This is a very big cleanliness campaign (Swachhata abhiyaan), not to inconvenience anyone,” Modi said, to applause.

“Desh ki gareebo ne ameeri dikhai (The poor have shown richness of heart).”

He hinted at more anti-black-money measures after December 30, the last date for people to exchange old notes.

“I would like to announce once again that after the end of this scheme, there is no guarantee that something new will not be introduced,” Modi said.

“But honest people will not face any problems.”

Modi’s announcement on Tuesday was aimed at draining illegal cash from the economy but has been criticized by the opposition parties, who allege the move will not help curb black money but hurt the poor and the common people.

“I was pondering over the difficulties, our team was thinking of ways. But obviously I couldn’t share it with anyone,” Modi said, as quoted by ANI.

Read | Notes ready, banks ready, but ATMs? Why the cash dash won’t go away soon

The government has warned that people who deposit money in excess of Rs 2.5 lakh come under the scanner. If people’s deposits don’t match their declared sources of income, they may have to give up 90% of the wealth in taxes and penalties.

“This is not an overnight decision, first we had brought in a scheme. It’s not that no opportunity was given, it was given,” Modi said, ANI reported.

The government has said citizens can exchange their old notes by December 30. “Till 30 December, there will be no trouble caused to anyone. Everything that is yours, you will get it.”