New Delhi/Nagpur: Trying to push the government on the backfoot, a combative Rahul Gandhi today asked how it allowed liquor baron Vijay Mallya, who owes over Rs 9,000 crore to banks, to leave the country and said Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley have failed to answer this question in their speeches.
The Congress Vice President attacked the government saying the entire country is questioning why this government was “helping” people like Mallya by allowing him to escape and not fulfilling its promises made to people for bringing back black money and “giving Rs 15 lakh into every person’s bank account”.
He also hit out at the Modi government for bringing the “Fair and Lovely” tax amnesty scheme, saying it only helped thieves, black marketeers and drug mafia to convert their black money into white.
Rahul also attacked the Prime Minister over his style of functioning, saying Modi in his long speeches has not answered his queries made to him.
“When a poor man steals, he is beaten up and thrown into jail. Someone who does not have food to eat and steals a roti is beaten up and put behind bars and a big businessmen who steals Rs 9,000 crore from country, you allow him to escape in First Class from the country. What is this happening?
“We simply asked that someone who stole Rs 9,000 crore from the country, how did he run away from the country. How did you allow him to escape? This is the simple question and we neither got a reply to this from Modiji nor from Jaitley ji. The question is why did your government allow him to run away from the country,” he told reporters outside Parliament.
Attacking the government for its tax amnesty scheme, Rahul said, “Fair and Lovely scheme is for thieves, black marketeers and drug mafia. Anyone who wants to convert his black money into white can do so through this scheme. The entire country is asking, I am not asking, that why are you helping these people. The question I am asking is if you have promised to give us Rs 15 lakh,then why are you giving him Rs 9,000 crore”
The Congress leader said if Modi government had promised to bring back black money, then “it should have not allowed Mallya to escape abroad and should have stopped him”.
“Before he became Prime Minister, Modi had promised that he will put Rs 15 lakh in our bank accounts. We did not get even a single rupee and Vijay Mallya ran away from the country with Rs 9,000 crore.
“We asked Mr Jaitley to tell us how Mallya ran away from India. If there is action against him and a lookout notice has been issued against him, then what is he doing in Rajya Sabha,” he said.
Rahul said he had asked the government a few days ago in Parliament about the tax amnesty scheme “through which thieves and blackmarketeers can convert their black money into white”.
“I had asked why they brought this scheme and whom you want to benefit. Your scheme says that even the source of income is not necessary. If you have earned money from drugs, crime or terrorism, this ‘Fair and Lovely’ scheme will help convert your black money into white.
“I had asked about your (PM’s) style of functioning that you do not inform people and I gave example of Nagaland accord and how he destroyed our entire work through his one action in Pakistan.
“The PM made an hour-long speech in both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. He did not reply even to one question of ours. Neither here nor here. He did bot answer us on ‘Fair and Lovely’ scheme,” he said.
Rahul said Congress had asked Jaitley to tell how Mallya escaped from India and if a lookout notice was issued against him, then what was he doing in Rajya Sabha.
Congress in both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha accused BJP government of “criminal conspiracy” in allowing businessman Mallya, facing probe in several loan default cases, to fly out of the country.
Ghulam Nabi Azad said in Rajya Sabha that everyone knew Mallya “could flee any day” and investigating agencies should have confiscated his passport and taken steps to restrict his movement.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, however, sought to corner the main opposition party, saying the loans were given to him during UPA rule.