Published On : Tue, Dec 13th, 2016

Video : Legality of demonitization questionable, says Chidambaram

“Demonetization is the biggest attack on the poor of India ( since independence). It has, and it will serve no purpose but just destroy lives and livelihoods. Over 91 people are reported to have died now, either standing in queues or committing suicide due to lack of money. And this is one process that cannot be reversed. You can break eggs to make an omelette, but you cannot put the omelette back in eggs again!”

This was P.C. Chidambaram, India’s former Finance Minister, and a renowned Corporate lawyer himself speaking at a press conference in Nagpur today exclusively on the subject of demonetization.

When asked by Nagpur Today if the move was legal since it was literally killing people and destroying so many small business’ Chidambaram replied that since the matter was in Supreme Court and they were deliberating on it , he did not want to give his legal opinion , but he also mentioned that some say that such a big move cannot be taken without Parliament first discussing and approving it.

“It was a very ill planned action, and very little thought and action seems to have gone into it. The world over Economists are berating it and newspapers have written editorials against it” said Chidambaram.

He said you cannot remove 86% of money from circulation, immobilize it and impound it without affeting the country and its economy badly.

“The effects started showing the very next day”.

45 crore daily income people are in peril

“After 33 days, 45 crore people who depended on daily income are at a complete loss. 15 crores of them were employed and daily wage earners, 30 crores were small business people and vendors like sabzi wallahs, fishermen, plumbers, electricians, dhobis etc. A day without earning is a hardship for them – imagine their situation after so many days?”

“Footwear manufacturers of Agra have closed down, bangle makers of Moradabad and Rajasthan have downed shutters, the textile hub of Tirupur is destroyed – there are examples galore.”

Chidambaram also questioned Modi’s real motive behind the harsh move.

“First he said it was to curb black money – he mentioned this over 2 dozen times in his speech on 8th November; on 27th November he mentioned it 9 times but he mentioned ‘cashless economy’ 27 times. So has the objective changed over time?” Name me one country that is truly cashless, asked the Congress leader.

There is no cashless country in the entire world!

“You go to USA, you go to Singapore or China, even they are not cashless. People still buy pop corn and hot dogs in cash!”

“And if they were sincere about curbing black money, why did they introduce Rs. 2000 notes? What was the justification behind it?” He asked.

Rs. 2000 notes being discovered in IT raids is the biggest scam

He also said the biggest scam after demonetization was how these 2000 notes had surfaced in so many IT rades. Crores are being ‘recovered daily’ from Delhi, from Chennai and different cities of India.

“How did these new notes go to them? The process is newly printed currency goes from Printing press to Treasury chests and then on to banks who give it to customers. Even I, former F.M. have been able to get only one weekly installment of Rs. 24,000. The second week I did not avail and third week when I sent my check I was told bank has no money! So from where and how are these people getting it in such large amounts? Why lawyers and businessmen, new 2000 notes were found on bodies of slain terrorists also!

THIS is the biggest scam of the country. It is not just an Income Tax matter but a criminal conspiracy and it must be probed thoroughly.” Insisted Chidambaram.

He also cautioned that there was going to be no quick end to the crisis. He said 2300 crore number of notes have been withdrawn.

The four currency printing press’ in India together have a maximum capacity to print 300 crores per month. So depending on what denomination notes they print, it will take at least 7 months to replace banned notes.

There is no way trouble is going to end by December 31st.

He said at a approximate estimate 11crore people are standing in queues every day in front of banks that have no money often.

“The situation in the North Eastern states in even more tragic. Most of the banks are in Assam, other states like Meghalaya, Tripura, Nagaland etc. hardly have any banks. In states like UP and Bihar, banks are often 20 kms away. I shudder to think what is happening to people there.” Bemoaned the senior politician.

He said government’s action was illogical and sense less on so many counts.

“Why did they not allow rural co operative banks to take deposits and change money ? This would have facilitated farmers to buy seeds and other agri inputs. They have allowed some Urban co operative banks to do it but not rural! Why so?”

There is total confusion on what they are trying to achieve, said P.C.

“A senior RSS functionary said at a public function yesterday that even the 2000 notes will be banned shortly. This could very well be their game plan! No one can guess what is happening.”

We are seeing a Shakespearean tragedy unfold where Hamlet ( is being acted ) without the Prince concluded Chidambaram.

“Or, to comment on their success in unearthing black money, I can say in my bad Hindi – ‘ khoda pahad aur nikali choohiya!”