Did PM mislead parliament on accounts abroad, asks BJP

Saturday, January 15, 2011

NEW DELHI - The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Saturday asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to clarify if he had mislead parliament after the Supreme Court “indicted” the government for not revealing names of those who had stashed away money in foreign banks.

BJP spokesperson Rajiv Pratap Rudy said the prime minister had told the country that he would initiate steps to recover money illegally stashed in foreign banks within 100 days of assuming power.

The prime minister told the Rajya Sabha July 30, 2009, that action had already been started for getting back the money belonging to Indians from Swiss banks, Rudy said.

“The BJP, in the light of the remarks of the honourable Supreme Court, would like the prime minister to clarify whether he chose to mislead the house by making a statement which has been contradicted by the Supreme Court. It is a matter of propriety and also a matter of privilege of the house. The BJP would want a straight answer from the prime minister,” Rudy said.

The Supreme Court Friday asked the government what was the reason for its reluctance to disclose the names of Indian nationals who have stashed black money in foreign banks.

Rudy said the “indictment” of the central government by the Supreme Court on the issue was shocking.

“It is intriguing that there is no response from the government on the issue,” he said.

Rudy said party vice-president Shanta Kumar had pointed out that India was one of the 22 countries which had not ratified the convention against corruption after signing it. A total of 148 countries are party to the convention.

“The Swiss ambassador has categorically stated that there was no request from the Indian government to reveal the names of people whose money has been kept in Swiss banks. An absolute inaction in this regard makes the Manmohan Singh government culpable,” Rudy said.

Charging the government with “overtly and covertly attempting to cover up the black money”, he said that the “defensive stance taken by the government brings its intentions and motivations under a cloud”.

Rudy said the Supreme Court has been compelled to intervene in cases of corruption under United Progressive Alliance (UPA), including in the 2G spectrum scam.

“This indicates the failure of the UPA government on all fronts whether it is corruption or price rise,” he said.

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