Demonetisation was a ethical move, not political: Jaitley

Jailtey reiterated that demonetisation increased the tax return filings and also increased the revenue of the states and the Centre immensely. 

Bhopal, Nov.17, 2018: Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today defended demonetisation, saying it was a “highly ethical” move and not a political one.

His statement comes a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi engaged in a war of words during the respective election rallies over the decision suddenly announced in November 2016 to junk a bulk of the currency in circulation.

“It was a highly ethical move,” Jaitley told reporters in Bhopal in response to a query over demonetisation. “It was not a political move.”

Jaitley was speaking after releasing the BJP’s manifesto ahead of the November 28 Madhya Pradesh assembly election.

The minister said demonetisation has increased the tax return filings and also increased the revenue of the states and the Centre immensely.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Friday criticised the government over demonetisation, saying it was the “biggest scam” of India.

Addressing a rally in Ambikapur in Chhattisgarh ahead of the second phase of voting on November 20, Modi claimed people did not have issues with demonetisation, but “only a family”.

The prime minister claimed the Congress was “worried” that he took away all the money its “minions and friends” had stashed under their beds and in sacks in one stroke.

Modi had said his government was investing the money recovered post-demonetisation on carrying out public works and funding welfare schemes.

In the wake of the Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal governments withdrawing the “general consent” accorded to the Central Bureau of Investigation to conduct raids and probes, Jaitley said those who had a lot to hide would fear the central agency.

The Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal governments have withdrawn their “general consent” to the CBI to conduct raids and investigations.

The agency would now need permission from the respective state governments to carry out any investigation in these states, except those ordered by the courts and against central government officials.

“It is only those who have a lot to hide will take the step of saying let the CBI not come to my state. There is no sovereignty of any state in the matter of corruption,” Jaitley said in response to a query.

“It is believed that Andhra’s move is not motivated by any particular case, but by the fear of what is likely to happen. I am not saying anything more than that at the moment,” he added.

“We have a federal structure in India and under that federal structure, the CBI was created initially for the employees of the central government and then, to investigate certain kinds of very serious cases in the states, which were referred to it either by the states or courts,” Jaitley said.

Referring to the alleged Saradha chit fund scam and the Narada sting operation, he said, “Saradha and Narada in West Bengal cannot be wiped off merely by saying that for the future, I de-notify the CBI.”

-with PTI inputs

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