Both Houses of Parliament on Monday witnessed uproar and slogan-shouting in the well on Monday, as the Opposition, particularly the BJP, slammed the UPA-II government for doing nothing to bring back black money stashed away in foreign banks.
The Opposition members sought an immediate discussion on the subject by suspending question hour. They also insisted that the government immediately come out with a statement on the steps it had taken and sought the list of people who had invested illegally in tax havens abroad.
As it failed to get any assurance from the government, the Opposition forced adjournments at least twice in the morning session.
While in the Lok Sabha, Haren Pathak (BJP) raised the issue amid protests by the treasury benches, in the Rajya Sabha, the party’s deputy leader M. Venkaiah Naidu brought up the matter and sought a full-fledged discussion.
Mr. Pathak said a parallel economy was ruining the country and tax evaders were having a field day. Referring to the Parliament march by yoga guru Baba Ramdev, the Gujarat MP charged the government with failing in its duty to check black money.
At one stage, the member, supported by his party colleagues, entered into an argument with Sanjay Nirupam of the Congress, who was seen gesticulating towards the Opposition benches.
“Government’s own people have money in foreign banks,” Mr. Pathak said. “The government should tell who these people are.”
In the Rajya Sabha, Mr. Naidu, quoting CBI Director A.P. Singh, claimed that Rs. 25 lakh crore worth Indian money was stashed away abroad. “A serving CBI Director making such a statement is an indication of the seriousness of the issue. Estimations may vary from Rs. 25 lakh crore to Rs. 60 lakh crore. But the amount is huge. If that money is brought back by our government, we can tackle the basic needs of the common people across the country.”
The White Paper the government had brought out on black money was an empty paper, Mr. Naidu charged.
Najma Heptulla (BJP) objected to Finance Minister P. Chidambaram making a statement on the issue outside when the House was in session.
V. Maitreyan (AIADMK) urged the government to immediately come out with the list of names of those who had illegally kept money abroad.
The Upper House also witnessed a verbal duel between Ravi Shankar Prasad and Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajiv Shukla with the BJP member demanding that the government announce a time frame within which it intended bringing back black money and Mr. Shukla wanting to know what the BJP was doing during the NDA rule.