New Delhi: Yashwant Sinha today delivered a fresh instalment of biting criticism of the government, describing the new national sales tax or GST as "a total mess" which cannot be solved by "tinkering". Mr Sinha, a senior BJP leader, who is a frequent critic of Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, said Prime Minister Narendra Modi should sack him. Mr Sinha has been dismissed by Mr Jaitley earlier as "a job applicant at 80" because the older politician once served in the same office.
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Mr Sinha also said that his son, union minister, Jayant Sinha should be among the politicians investigated after being named in the Paradise Papers - as long as BJP chief Amit Shah's son, Jay Shah, is also investigated for allegations of benefiting from crony capitalism.
On Monday, Jayant Sinha, who in the past has disagreed with his father's poor assessment of the government that he is a part of, was named in the Paradise Papers, which leak the offshore investments of prominent and wealthy politicians and corporates across the globe.
Jayant Sinha, 54, a former venture capitalist, has said that the transactions he is linked to were not personal but related to the Omidyar Network, a company that he worked for; he said all the transactions were legal and legitimate.
His father told NDTV, "My request to government is to probe the politicians whose names have come in the Paradise Papers and it should be time-bound, within 15 days to one month." However, he said, the government also owes an independent assessment of the claims that Jay Shah, the entrepreneur son of the BJP chief, saw a spike in his firm's revenues after the BJP came to power and benefited from his father's office. Jay Shah has filed a Rs 100-crore defamation suit in response.
"My question is when an inquiry against Jayant Sinha, then why not Jay Shah - there you say file a case in court. So a probe should be against everyone," said the former Finance Minister, referring to the BJP stating that those accusing Jay Shah of corruption should approach a court with evidence, if they have any.
In September, Mr Sinha went nuclear on the government for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's year-old shock move to ban high-value notes and for following that up with the rushed introduction of a new sales tax, GST, which replaces a mass of central and state tariffs. Though the Goods and Services Tax or GST is expected to lower prices and make manufacturing easier, its hurried implementation and complex structure which includes confusing multi-tax slabs, has dented small and medium businesses. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and his counterparts from different states met today and announced a lowering of tax on some items.
"It's a total mess and the tinkering's not going to solve the problem. There's a fundamental problem with GST structures and you have to address that," said Yashwant Sinha.