BJP steps up attack on P Chidambaram, calls 80:20 gold import scheme a 'racket'

BJP has alleged that Chidambaram had granted seven private firms gold import benefits on the day of the counting of 2014 Lok Sabha poll votes.

BJP steps up attack on P Chidambaram, calls 80:20 gold import scheme a 'racket'
Pic courtesy: ANI

New Delhi: Stepping up its attack on Congress leader P Chidambaram, the BJP said on Wednesday that on May 15, 2014, the then finance minister had announced a new policy in which Star Trade Operators were attached to premium trading houses which included Gitanjali jewellers.

"On 15th May 2014, P Chidambaram announced a new policy in which Star Trade Operators were attached to premium trading houses which included Gitanjali jewellers. UPA government during P Chidambaram's tenure opened all doors for the favourable companies. Those who have been prohibited from participating 80/20 scheme were brought in. These trading houses were allowed to import gold up to 2,000 kg from any port of India. There was no control and verification. This is a downright racket," Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said addressing a press conference.

He added, "Congress designated few companies for gold exports. Export-import rights were given only to PSUs and Public entities, SBI, State Trading Corp. The model code of conduct is applicable to the RBI also. 80.20 gold scheme is a matter of policy change. We charge with the full sense of responsibility that under extraordinary pressure of vested interests P Chidambaram took the decision a day before the election results."

Prasad further said, "P Chidambaram was aware of the democratic propriety of Indian polity, which meant you do not take a policy decision one day before the results of the elections. It is a textbook case of massive irregularity."

Earlier, on March 5, 2018, too, the BJP had alleged that Chidambaram had granted seven private firms, including scam-accused Gitanjali Gems, gold import benefits on the day of the counting of 2014 Lok Sabha poll votes.

Addressing the press, Prasad had asked the Congress how much "cut" was given to whom for the decision.

Targeting the Congress and Chidambaram, whose son Karti has been arrested by the CBI in INX Media case, the Union Law Minister had alleged that the then Congress-led UPA government "destroyed" the economy by not letting the real stressed assets get reflected in banks' books and said total advances given by banks in the last six years of its rule rose to Rs 52.15 lakh crore from Rs 18.06 lakh crore in 2008.

Only 36 percent of these advances were identified as stressed assets but they rose to 82 percent, he had said and had alleged that under the then "so-called economist" PM Manmohan Singh and Chidambaram, the banking system was "sought to be derailed by interventions, patronage and pressure".

Prasad had further alleged that Chidambaram gave seven private firms benefits under 80:20 gold import scheme on May 16, 2014, the day Narendra Modi-led BJP was swept to power, ousting the UPA.

The Congress was resorting to "fear, lies, concoction and confusion" to target the BJP government, he said and spoke about the opposition's campaign on the Rafale deal and several other issues to claim that these were all baseless charges.

Blaming the Congress for scams which came to light recently, he said the party had planted so many "land mines" when it was in power than some of them kept exploding on and off.

(With PTI inputs)

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