Jethmalani hits out at BJP over ‘failed’ black money promise

Expelled BJP MP Ram Jethmalani here today hit out at the saffron party for “failing” to keep its promise to bring back the black money stashed abroad.

“BJP should be defeated in Bihar as it has failed on its promise of bringing back black money stashed in foreign banks,” Jethmalani said.

The senior Supreme Court lawyer, who is visiting the state twice in a fortnight, claimed, “They (BJP) don’t want to bring black money back in the country as that money belongs to them.”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he said, had promised during campaigning for the Lok Sabha polls last year that BJP government would bring back black money within no time but party president Amit Shah, in an interview after the elections had termed the promise as a ‘jumla’ (idiomatic expression).

“It is a complete joke on black money,” said Jethmalani, who had supported Modi’s prime ministerial bid but announced his break-up with the prime minister in June this year opposing the appointment of former CBDT chairman K V Chowdary as chief vigilance commissioner.

The expelled Rajya Sabha MP claimed that the German government has names of 1,400 people, majority of them Indians, who have stashed their money in tax havens abroad and was ready to part with the information free of cost but with a rider that there should be a written request for it from the Indian government.

He said as per a BJP task force committee Rs 90 lakh crore are lying in tax havens.

Coming down heavily on Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley for the Centre’s failure in bringing back “even one dollar to the country”, Jethmalani, who served in the Cabinet of the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government, said the finance minister is “the biggest culprit” for this.

When pointed out that he was virtually endorsing the comeback of Nitish Kumar-Lalu Prasad in which the RJD chief is seen by many to symbolise ‘jungle raj’, he quipped “So what if Nitish-Lalu return to power? … No harm will be done to the state. What have others (parties) done?”

Referring to the ongoing elections, the feisty lawyer, who was here to deliver a lecture on ‘Role of Judiciary in Indian Democracy’, said, “First phase of polling has been completed but you will not find BJP leaders very cheerful.