PM widens hunt for black money
- Personal records since Independence will be opened, if necessary
Prime Minister Narendra Modi showed his resolve to unearth black money once again on Saturday by declaring that the government will not hesitate to go through all personal records since Independence to catch hoarders and tax dodgers.
This is the strongest statement so far to come from the Prime Minister on black money crackdown. Addressing the Indian Diaspora in Japan on the second day of his three-day visit that saw the signing of a historic civil nuclear deal between and Japan on Friday, Modi said: “We will check all the records since Independence. If I come across any unaccounted cash, no one will be spared.”
He is reported to have said, “If the money that surfaces in the banking system comes without its legitimacy and source then there will be proper scrutiny since the beginning.” Clarifying further, he said, if unaccounted money comes to light, then the accounts will be scanned from Independence. To do that work, the government would bring in as many people as possible, the Prime Minister added. He also hinted at the possibility of taking more measures to unearth the unaccounted money, believed to run into lakhs of crores.
Modi left for Japan soon after announcing the demonetization of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes from the midnight of November 8. While his ministers have been defending the move against some political parties’ onslaught, Modi spoke about what is called ‘surgical strike against black money” for the first time, that too on foreign soil.
Acknowledging the difficulties people are facing following the ban on high value currency notes and shortage of new notes and technical glitches at banks and ATMs while handling the massive rush, the Prime Minister said he had already opened several windows for people to come clean on their unaccounted for wealth.
Rebutting criticism that he had taken the decision in haste, Modi said the government had given 50 days to people to declare their hidden wealth. Suggesting many had ignored the advice and gone to the extent of ridiculing the scheme, he said, by September the offer had brought Rs 125 lakh crores to banks. “If after this you think that the situation remains like before then it’s not my fault,” he said. He also left it open, contrary to many experts’ view, that “there is no guarantee that more won’t follow”.