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BJP rakes up black money issue again

Friday, 9 November 2012 - 6:00pm IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: PTI

Arvind Kejriwal's allegations against the Ambanis and HSBC Bank give party an opportunity to target the government.

Activist-turned-politician Arvind Kejriwal's allegations about some Indians having accounts in tax havens abroad gave BJP an opportunity to flag the issue of black money again as the party asked the government make public all details of such individuals and entities.

BJP claimed it been raising the issue of black money since the 2009 general elections when its prime ministerial candidate LK Advani had demanded that names of all individuals and entities who have stashed Indian money abroad illegally should be made public.

"BJP believes that it is a very serious which the government has to tackle. When Advani had raised it, Congress had mocked and laughed at it. Having won the elections and gauging the mood of the people, the UPA government said in 2009 that it will act on this within 100 days. But nothing has moved since then," party spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman said.

Striking a sarcastic note, the BJP leader insisted that this was expected from Congress which "fails" to keep its promise.

Recalling the sequence of events, BJP claimed that initially 22 names were revealed by Liechtenstein but the government did not make all the data public.

Sitharaman said the then finance minister Pranab Mukherjee had announced some measures on the issue in Parliament. This included formation of a committee to look into the matter but till today the government has not shared any details on the progress.

"Government should tell what has been done by the committee. It should also now make public all the 700 names of account holders given to the government by the French government. You cannot pick and choose some names," Sitharaman said.

BJP alleged the government has hidden behind excuses like double taxation and pressure created by PILs in courts and smaller countries acting on similar information made available to them about their citizens.

The opposition party demanded a thorough investigations into the entire HSBC affair after Kejriwal's allegations that HSBC Bank has been indulging in money laundering. Kejriwal claimed that the Ambani brothers, Naresh Goyal and Congress MP Annu Tandon had parked black money in its Geneva branch, even as the bank and all the named individuals denied holding the bank accounts.

BJP said Congress appears to be revising its manifesto at its "Chintan Shivir" in Surajkund but should first look at those issues which it has "failed" to implement from the last election's manifesto.

"They had said they will act on the black money issue within 100 days of coming to power but have not done anything till date. Instead, Congress has worked for those things which were not mentioned in its manifesto like 'a-scandal-a-day' and corruption to the hilt," Sitharaman said.

BJP said it will raise this issue in the forthcoming winter session of parliament.

Asked about Congress MP Annu Tandon having a Swiss account, BJP leaders said their MPs had submitted affidavits to their respective heads (speaker and chairman) in Parliament and challenged the ruling party legislators to do the same.

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