New Delhi: Amid a bitter war of words with the Congress over the Rs 12600 crore PNB scam, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Monday blamed the latter for rising non-performing assets (NPAs) and the worsening bank debt crisis.
Addressing a press conference in the national capital, Prasad said that the Congress-led UPA government did not follow the rule book during its tenure. The Union Minister also hit out at former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who is often credited for reforming the Indian economy.
"Under the so-called economist and then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the entire banking system went haywire due to all kinds of interference with it," the BJP leader said.
Making a scathing attack on the Congress, Prasad said that banking scams like the Nirav Modi-linked PNB fraud took place during the Congress-led UPA rule.
Prasad also attacked former finance minister P Chidambaram, who has been very vocal about Narendra Modi government's economic policies and the GDP growth rate.
Blaming Chidambaram for the faulty UPA gold import scheme, Prasad said, "On May 16, 2014, an order was passed by the then Finance Minister to provide benefits to seven private companies. Gitanjali was one of the seven companies."
The minister also blamed Congress for spreading lies, confusion and fear about the BJP-led NDA government.
''Congress has been indulging in the politics of fear and confusion in the last 4 years. Congress party has issues with technology since technology brings transparency,'' he added.
''Many times the UPA did not allow correct data to be entered into bank records. Advances (to banks) rose during UPA but were not recorded in the books,'' the minister said.
The minister also blamed the Congress party for using the word 'joomlas'' while targeting BJP.
''Don't know how much they have learnt Hindi. They have been using the word 'joomla' a lot. Do you know, there was 80:20 scheme that was started in August 2013,'' Prasad asked.
''In November 2014, we scrapped the 80:20 scheme. The Congress must answer, who were those people who were lobbying on behalf of Gitanjali and related companies. And how many cuts they were taking,'' he asked.
There was a Scheme 80:20 introduced in August 2013 & repealed in November 2014. On 16th May 2014, the date of the declaration of results, the then Finance Minister gave 'aashirvaad' to 7 pvt companies under 80:20 Scheme. One of those companies was #Gitanjali: Ravi Shankar Prasad pic.twitter.com/o4iOGrR3q1
— ANI (@ANI) March 5, 2018
''Rahul Gandhi must answer after he returns from Italy,'' the minister demanded.
Attacking Congress for criticising Aadhaar, Prasad said, ''We have saved crores of rupees with Aadhaar. Today the worst critic of Aadhaar is the Congress. Some of their biggest leaders speak against Aadhaar. I know the Congress faces difficulties in accepting technology.''
''He (Rahul Gandhi) called GST Gabbar Singh tax. I am very sure that Congress is anti-reform. Whenever there is reform there is transparency and accountability,'' Prasad said.
The Union Minister also congratulated the BJP workers for the party's splendid electoral success in the recently concluded assembly elections in Tripura, Meghalaya, and Nagaland.
(With Agency inputs)