Advani slams government on illegal wealth in foreign banks


Mumbai: Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader L.K. Advani Sunday took on the Manmohan Singh-led central government over its inability to crack down on corruption, alleging it was doing little to bring back the ill-gotten money kept by Indians in foreign banks.

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Addressing a ‘Bhrashtachar Virodhi Mahasangram’ (anti-corruption rally) organised here by the National Demorcratic Alliance (NDA) to protest against corruption and rising prices, Advani claimed that Rs.20.85 lakh crore of ill-gotten money was stashed away in foreign banks.

“I read a report by Global Financial Integrity (a research organisation) which claims that nearly Rs.20.85 lakh crore of Indian money is illicitly kept in foreign banks,” Advani said while addressing thousands of people in the audience.

Claiming that the government already knew about the money stashed away, Advani said that nothing was being done to crack down against the corrupt.

“The central government replying to a petition put in by eminent lawyer Ram Jethmalani had claimed difficulty before the Supreme Court in providing names of individuals who have money and accounts in Swiss and German banks,” he said.

Advani also said that a name of a former prime minister associated with the Congress had also cropped up as having an account in a foreign bank “but there had been no rebuttal by the party on the allegation”.

“The issue of corruption, scams and rising inflation are all linked with getting this money back, which rightfully belongs to the nation,” he said.

BJP president Nitin Gadkari, on the other hand, alleged that in 2010, scams worth Rs.2.50 lakh crore had hit the country and said the amount was worth three percent of the country’s GDP.

Gadkari also fired a Bofors salvo and said that the Congress needed to come clean on on the relationship between Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrocchi and the Gandhi family.

Taking on the Congress-Nationalist Congress Party government in Maharashtra, Shiv Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray dared Chief Minister Prihviraj Chavan to crack down against the builders of Lavasa Lake City project near Pune.

“The decision on demolisihing Adarsh (housing society’s 31-storey building in Mumbai) has been proposed but what about Lavasa? If Chief Minister Chavan has the courage, he will crack down on Lavasa too,” Thackeray said.

The BJP leaders also demanded prompt action against the accused in the Adarsh scam. “If the government is not willing too take action against Adarsh, our cadre will go and demolish the building ourselves,” said BJP leader Kirit Somaiyya.

Janata Dal-United’s Sharad Yadav and Akali Dal’s Rattan Singh Ajnala were also present at the rally, the third NDA meeting to be held on corruption. The two earlier ones were held in Delhi and Guwahati.

Similar meetings will be held at Kanpur (Uttar Pradesh-Feb 5), Rohtak (Haryana-Feb 6), Hyderabad (Feb 9) and Jaipur (Feb 17).