New Delhi: With speculation rife that names of some top party leaders could be revealed in the list of those who stashed black money abroad, the Congress on Monday, very uncharacteristically, went on a full-scale offensive, saying: “Show us the money you helped bring back to India, don’t try to fool the country with fringe matters.”
Party spokesman Abhishek Singhvi said the government should refrain from “political titillation, press sensationalisation and playing games” to target its opponents. It is believed the Congress’ combativeness is due to the threat of possible revelation of more names. The timing is delicate: it comes when states like Jammu and Kashmir and Jharkhand, ruled by the Congress and its allies, are heading for Assembly polls.
A BJP spokesman has claimed that the list of 800 names with the government has many Congress members, but none from the BJP. Attacking the BJP-led government for failing to come up with the entire list, Congress spokesman Sanjay Jha said this was in stark contrast to the BJP’s poll manifesto.
“The BJP promised to bring back black money in 100 days. During the election campaign they promised to expose all who had illegal money in foreign banks,” he said.
Congress spokesman Sanjay Jha said it was the UPA, which had actually pursued the black money issue with sincerity. “Our government had revealed 26 such names to the Supreme Court of India. The present government’s stand on black money looks dubious as they are in no hurry to reveal all names,” he maintained.
The issue, as it is being played out, appeared to have been proving advantage BJP. The ruling party has been claiming that the names of several Congress members figure in the list of those who have stashed away undeclared wealth overseas.
BJP spokesperson G.V.L. Narasimha Rao, in fact, stressed that the list of 800 names with the government includes many Congress members, but none from the BJP.“The list of those with accounts in banks abroad has several Congress members. I must make it clear there are no names of BJP members in the list,” Mr Rao said, adding that the move to reveal three names is just the beginning and more names would be revealed soon.
“This shows the government’s commitment to bring back black money. This is the first step, the legal process will take its due course. Several more names will be revealed,” Mr Rao said.
“The process has begun to send notices to (illegal account holders to) prove the money in their accounts has legally earned. If they fail to prove it, it will be considered black money,” the spokesperson added.
While questioning the government’s intent, AICC media chief Ajay Maken said, “The BJP had loudly proclaimed that the account of every individual would be credited with Rs 15 lakh and the nation eagerly waits for Narendra Modi to fulfil his promise.” He said, “It is a worrying development if the BJP is trying to avoid delivering on the promise. It was a major pillar of the party’s campaign.”
Congress leader Salman Khurshid slammed the government for cherrypicking names. “The government can disclose all the names on the list to the court as per law,” he said.