The Congress attacked Finance Minister Arun Jaitley over his remarks that disclosure of names of those holding illicit foreign accounts will embarrass the party and said the Modi government should not indulge in “any blackmail” and come out with full information instead of "selective leaks".
Party general secretary Ajay Maken said the Modi Government should not “indulge in selective or vindictive leaking of names.”
“If Jaitley was trying to blackmail the Congress party by such petty games, he should desist from the same, Maken added.
Maken’s response came after Jaitley’s interview to NDTV news channel Tuesday in which he said that the Congress will face some embarrassment when the names of those holding illicit foreign accounts come out.
Jaitley gave another interview Wednesday to Times Now news channel and said the government cannot reveal all names in the list of those who have accounts in banks abroad as some of them have legitimate accounts and cannot be maligned.
“We have got some names. Under the treaty, we cannot reveal it for political purposes,” he said.
“Some people have legitimate accounts. We cannot disclose the names who have legal accounts,” the minister said, adding that for this reason the government has also requested the Supreme Court not to reveal all the names in the list.
Jaitley refused to give more details.
Asked if there were politicians in the list from opposition party Congress, the minister said he will “neither confirm, nor deny anything”. He, however, said he will be “enthusiastic” in sharing the names if any opponent’s name is there.
Reacting strongly to Jaitley’s remarks, Maken said the party was above any individual and the government of the day should proceed against and investigate those whose names are there in the list without being selective or vindictive. “It had all the state machinery at its disposal and not try to subvert issues by getting into pointless filibuster,” Maken said.
Maken also attacked the Bharatiya Janata Party over its promise of bringing back black money, claiming that its leaders had said that each citizen could get Rs 15 lakh if the black money was brought back.
“It is a worrying development if the BJP is trying to avoid delivering upon the promise, a major pillar of the BJP campaign in the hope of which the people of India had voted them to power,” Maken said.
The Congress leader said that the BJP government filed an affidavit before the Supreme Court seeking modification of the July, 2011 order of the court “wherein the Court had expressly directed the government to reveal the names of black money account holders.”
He said the court had had said in July, 2011 that the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreements (DTAA) must not deter the government from disclosing the names of account holders who have stashed black money abroad.
Referring to suggestions that the government will only disclose 136 out of the 800 names, Maken called for “full and complete disclosure of details of such account holders.”
Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi also said that the government should reveal all the names. “The government said it will reveal 136 names out of a list of 800. Why is the government being selective… in revealing the names,” Singhvi said.
“Threatening Congress over black money will not help. The people want the black money to be brought back, have they got even Rs.500 back?”
Ajay Maken said Congress “will not succumb to blackmailing”.
“We want to know the entire list. Do not blackmail and threaten us. The Congress party is not going to succumb to any blackmailing,” Maken said.
Maken said the people of the country do not just want to know the names. “They are waiting to know how the money will come back to India.”
He said the government should not indulge in half truths. “The government should come out with all names. It should not be a vindictive list. All names should come,” he added.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley Tuesday said Congress will be embarrassed once the names of people holding illicit foreign accounts are made public.
“I can assure you there is no embarrassment I (BJP) will have when all the names are disclosed. There is some embarrassment the Congress party will have because of those names,” he said.
But Jaitley on Wednesday once again said the government cannot reveal all names in the list of those who have accounts in banks abroad as some of them have legitimate accounts and cannot be maligned.
Jaitley, in an interview to news channel Times Now, also refused to comment if there were politicians in the list. “We have got some names. Under the treaty, we cannot reveal it for political purposes,” he said.
“Some people have legitimate accounts. We cannot disclose the names who have legal accounts,” the minister said, adding that for this reason, the government has also requested the Supreme Court not to reveal all the names in the list.
Jaitley refused to give more details. (IANS)