Senior Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan on Monday said that the Narendra Modi government was raising the AgustaWestland issue to divert attention from demonetisation, which was an “unmitigated disaster”.
He also demanded that a Joint Parliamentary Committee probe should be done into the scrapping of currency notes.
The former Maharashtra Chief Minister and Minister of State in the PMO said that raising AgustaWestland chopper scam case smacked of “political vendetta”.
“What was the government doing for the past two and a half years? Why now and not earlier? This is a political vendetta. This was done to divert attention from demonetisation. The manner in which names have been leaked and rumour mongering is going on. CBI should do its work. It does not need any permission,” he said.
On demonetisation, he said: “Every section of society, except the super-rich and those with black money, have suffered untold misery.
“The government has not given a logical explanation as to why the Rs 2,000 note has been introduced. Rs 2,000 note is 15 per cent smaller than the old Rs 1,000 note. It’s possible now to store Rs 2.2 crore in the same space as Rs 1 crore in old Rs 1,000 notes.”
Chavan said there was speculation that the government would discontinue Rs 2,000 note. “The government should make its stand clear in this regard,” he said.
“It is clear that this was done only to help BJP handle cash in the upcoming Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, and other states. We demand that the government clarify its stand on continuing with Rs 2,000 rupee note. Is it part two of the surgical strike on the economy?” he asked.
“There are reports that counterfeit notes have been dispensed from an ATM of a reputed bank. The gross domestic product growth will be adversely affected by as high as two per cent, according to some estimates. The informal sector and the rural economy have been badly hit,” the Congress leader said.
He also said that while a probe has been initiated in Pakistan against its Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in the Panama Papers case, the Centre is yet to take action against Indians whose names were revealed.