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UPA evasive about illicit money: Advani

By Onkar Singh in New Delhi
Last updated on: March 29, 2009 21:59 IST
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Senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader and the National Democratic Alliance's prime ministerial candidate L K Advani on Sunday launched an attack on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh again, claiming that the PM hadn't done enough to address the issue of illicit money hoarded in Swiss Bank accounts.

At a press conference in New Delhi, Advani questioned the United Progressive Alliance's 'deafening silence about Indian wealth', estimated at between Rs 25 lakh and Rs 70 lakh crore, hoarded in secret Swiss bank accounts.

Advani claimed that the money was a mix of 'political bribes, crime money and venal business'.

He demanded that the government make efforts to bring back money deposited by Indians in foreign banks and asked Dr Singh to raise the issue at the upcoming G-20 summit.

The party also promised to bring this money to the country, if the NDA comes to power.

"I demand the Prime Minister should seriously raise the matter at the G-20 summit and ask the countries to provide information about the money of Indians deposited in foreign banks," Advani said.

"If the NDA gets the mandate, we will pursue this matter at legal and executive levels and force such Indians to bring back their money from foreign countries and allow it to be used in India," he added.

Advani said that he had sent a letter to the Finance Ministry last year about taking concrete steps to unearth the money being illegally stashed abroad, but he was dissatisfied with the ministry's 'evasive' reply.

However, he refused to reveal the names of any politicians who, according to him, were involved in hoarding black money.

Advani announced the setting up of a task-force headed by IIM-Bangalore professor R Vaidyanathan to prepare a strategic document for getting back the national wealth stashed away illegally by 'corrupt politicians, venal businessmen and criminal overlords'.

The Committee would also comprise of S Gurumurthy, Mahesh Jethmalani and Ajit Doval.

"The chief ministers of BJP-ruled states will write to the Prime Minister urging him to write to the Swiss and other authorities to disclose the names of hoarders of Indian money abroad," Advani said.

The senior BJP leader said that the money trail in the Bofors scam in the 1980s had revealed the involvement of secret Swiss bank accounts. "The BJP sees in secret banking the RDX that has the potential not only to blow up national financial systems but also to support and fund global terror networks whose attacks on India increased during the UPA regime," Advani said.

"At a lower estimate, the amount of Rs 25 lakh crore, which is secret foreign money, is sufficient to relieve the debts of all farmers and to build world class roads all over the country, apart from providing safe drinking water to six lakh villages in the country," he said.

Unfazed by the mounting criticism against Varun Gandhi, Advani struck a defiant note, saying that the party's decision to reject Election Commission's advice not to field Varun is in accordance with the law and the Constitution.

"The party has taken the correct stand under the law and in accordance with the Constitution," he said.

At the same time, Advani said every BJP candidate should exercise restraint in their utterances. "At the moment I have nothing more to add on this issue," he said.

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Onkar Singh in New Delhi
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