‘Government should come out with details of those keeping black money abroad’

The Bharatiya Janata Party, which has till recently been critical of activist-turned-politician Arvind Kejriwal, on Friday endorsed the latter’s allegations over black money and was at pains to stress that the party had been the first to press for a campaign to unearth black money stashed away abroad.

When Mr. Kejriwal had, in October, trained his guns on BJP president Nitin Gadkari, the party had attributed motives and claimed the activist was acting at the behest of vested interests.

On Friday, however, the party said the cases raised by Mr. Kejriwal and India Against Corruption should be investigated.

Speaking to the press, party spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman demanded that the government come out with details of individuals and entities that had illegal foreign bank accounts.

Ms. Sitharaman recalled that the BJP has been raising the issue of black money since the 2009 general elections, when its Prime Ministerial candidate L.K. Advani had made a similar demand.

Mr. Advani had followed it up with a nationwide tour to “educate” people on the subject and put pressure on the government to initiate measures to bring back such black monies.

“The BJP believes that it is a very serious which the government has to tackle. When Mr. Advani had raised it, Congress had mocked and laughed at it. Having won the elections and gauging the mood of the people, the UPA government said in 2009 that it will act on this within 100 days. But nothing has moved since then,” party spokesperson said.

The BJP had tabled a motion in the Lok Sabha seeking details of the measures undertaken by the government on the issue. In a bid to prove that none of its leaders have any illegal accounts abroad, the party submitted affidavits from its MPs to the Lok Sabha Speaker and the Rajya Sabha Chairman.

The BJP spokesperson maintained that initially 22 names were revealed by Liechtenstein but the government did not make all the data public.

“What has panel done?”

She said the then Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee had announced some measures on the issue in Parliament, which included the formation of a committee to look into the matter but the government had shared no details on the progress made.

“The government should tell what has been done by the committee. It should also now make public all the 700 names of account-holders given by the French government. You cannot pick and choose some names,” Ms. Sitharaman said.

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