New Delhi: The BJP today sought to corner former finance minister P Chidambaram, alleging that he granted seven private firms, including scam-accused Gitanjali Gems, gold import benefits on the day of the counting of 2014 Lok Sabha poll votes and asked the Congress how much “cut” was given to whom for the decision.
Senior party leader and Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad targeted the Congress and Chidambaram, whose son Karti Chidambaram has been arrested by the CBI in a corruption case, at a press conference which was described by the BJP as an “expose on the politics of lies and deceit” of the opposition party.
Prasad alleged that the then Congress-led UPA government “destroyed” the economy by not letting the real stressed assets get reflected in banks’ books and said total advances given by banks in the last six years of its rule rose to Rs 52.15 lakh crore from Rs 18.06 lakh crore in 2008.
Only 36% of these advances were identified as stressed assets but they rose to 82%, he said, alleging that under the then “so-called economist” prime minister Manmohan Singh and Chidambaram, the banking system was “sought to be derailed by interventions, patronage and pressure”.
However, it was Chidambaram who was the main target of the ruling party.
Chidambaram, Prasad alleged, gave seven private firms benefits under 80:20 gold import scheme on 16 May 2014, the day Narendra Modi-led BJP was swept to power, ousting the UPA.
“What does it mean? On 16 May, the Manmohan Singh government is losing, P Chidambaram’s chair is in danger… Chidambaram and Congress chief Rahul Gandhi should tell us why this order to benefit seven private firms was passed on that day. Is it corruption or jumla (rhetoric)?” he asked.
Chidambaram has repeatedly used the term ‘jumla’ to mock the BJP government’s policies.
Blaming the Congress for scams which came to light recently, he said the party had planted so many “land mines” when it was in power than some of them kept exploding on and off.
He cited a recent case of fraud registered by the CBI against a son-in-law of Punjab chief minister and Congress leader Amarinder Singh and described it as a “textbook case” in this regard.
Prasad reiterated the government’s stand that no loan given under its tenure had turned into a non-performing asset (NPA).
He also said Jatin Mehta, a businessman who is also said to have fled India after defaulting on loans, had escaped in 2012.
Rahul Gandhi must answer these questions when he returns from Italy, he said. Taking a dig at the Congress chief, Prasad said Gandhi can take his help in use of social media as he was also the IT minister and Gandhi were often found “lacking in homework” in his tweets targeting the government.