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Swiss money: Congress calls Advani a liar

By By our Delhi correspondent
April 08, 2009 15:36 IST
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Responding to Bharatiya Janata Party leader L K Advani's allegations about black money hoarded in Swiss bank accounts, Jairam Ramesh, the man in charge of the Congress' campaign for the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls, has advised the party's prime ministerial candidate against using 'obscure and unauthenicated Internet sources' to back his claims.

In a curtly worded letter to Advani, Ramesh accuses him of lying on the issue, claiming that the numbers presented by the BJP leader were a 'total hoax'.  

This is the letter written by Ramesh to Advani:

Dear Shri Advani,

I have always been amused by the sources you cite in your speeches in Parliament and outside. But your use of some obscure and unauthenicated Internet source to raise the pitch on Indian money stashed away in Swiss banks is really the limit. It is not just amusing. It is shocking, coming from a leader of your purported stature.

To put it bluntly, Shri Advani, you are lying. That your entire edifice of numbers on the black money issue is a total hoax has been demonstrated most convincingly by two of India's most distinguished economists -- Ashok Desai and Bibek Debroy -- who have both been critical of the Congress as well in the past on various issues.

That there are Indians with Swiss bank accounts is incontrovertible -- many of them, incidentally, may well be BJP supporters and part of your election funding may well be coming from these sources. There can also be no dispute on the fact that we must try and get this money back. We have had amnesty schemes in the past -- some have succeeded and some have not. But I would like to ask you a straight question -- in the six years that you were Home Minister, can you tell the country one single step you took to get Indian accounts in Swiss banks made transparent?

Your use of 'ISI' data to claim that poverty has increased during 2004/05-08/09 is another example of complete bogusness. I think you may well be referring to a study done by Inter Services Intelligence of Pakistan and not by our prestigious Indian Statistical Institute. The study of ISI, Kolkata stops at 2004/05 and whatever conclusions you have drawn from that study are completely false. I have already written to your aide Sudheendra Kulkarni on this issue. I attach a copy of the email I have sent him.

Goebbels believed that if you keep repeating a lie several times, people will begin to believe it. Your ideological brotherhood has perfected this dictum.

With regards,

Jairam Ramesh 

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By our Delhi correspondent