- BJP accused Dr Manmohan Singh of "derailing" banking system
- Ravi Shankar Prasad criticised UPA over the 80:20 scheme
- Stressed assets of banks reached 82 per cent during UPA: BJP
"Under the so called economist, then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the entire banking system went haywire due to all kinds of interference with it," senior BJP leader and union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said.
Seeking to blunt the Congress attack over the multi-crore Punjab National Bank fraud involving celebrity designer Nirav Modi and his partner Mehul Choksi, Mr Prasad sought answers from former Finance Minister P Chidambaram and Congress chief Rahul Gandhi.
"On 16 May 2014, the day UPA government lost the general elections, Finance Minister P Chidambaram cleared 80:20 benefit to seven companies. One of them was Gitanjali (Mehul Choksi's company). Will Rahul Gandhi & P Chidambaram tell the nation if it wasn't blatant favouritism, mala fide intent and rampant corruption?" alleged Mr Prasad.
The 80:20 scheme was launched by the UPA in August 2013, when the government was trying to curb gold imports to tackle the current account deficit. According to the scheme, private traders were allowed to export 20 per cent of the imported gold and retain the rest for domestic use. The scheme was scrapped by the NDA government in November 2014.
"The Congress must answer who were those people who were lobbying on behalf of Gitanjali and related companies. And how much cut were they taking? Rahul Gandhi must answer after he returns from Italy," Mr Prasad said.
Alleging that stressed assets of government banks rose from 32 per cent to 82 per cent during the UPA tenure, the minister said, "Many times the UPA did not allow correct data to be entered into bank records. Advances (to banks) rose during UPA but were not recorded in the books".
Calling the Congress "anti-reform", Mr Prasad said the party that came up with Aadhaar is today its worst critic. "Congress party has issues with technology since technology brings transparency," the minister for information technology said.
The Congress returned the attack, questioning the prime minister's silence over the Punjab National Bank fraud.
"Why is the prime minister silent? He should assure the people that he will bring them (Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi) back, they will be punished under the law and the people's money will be recovered. The prime minister talks of every other issue but this," said Congress leader Anand Sharma.