Abhishek Singhvi case: BJP raises black money issue; asks Sonia to clarify

BJP on Tuesday accused Congress leaders of generating black money in the country while referring to the matter of the alleged tax evasion by its spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi and asked Congress President Sonia Gandhi to clarify on the issue.

PTI| Last Updated: Nov 11, 2014, 22:41 PM IST

New Delhi: BJP on Tuesday accused Congress leaders of generating black money in the country while referring to the matter of the alleged tax evasion by its spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi and asked Congress President Sonia Gandhi to clarify on the issue.

"The issue of Singhvi is just a sample as it is only what has come out in the public domain. How many Congress leaders are turning black money into white?

"Congress has created a lot of black money during the last 10 years of its government, which saw a lot of corruption and scams. Congress President Sonia Gandhi should clarify," said BJP national secretary Shrikant Sharma.

Terming the matter "a classic case of tax evasion", BJP's national spokesperson Sambit Patra said, "This is a classic case of how black money is produced within the country by the tall leaders of Congress."

Attacking the Congress, he said, "It sermonises on black money and this is what is happening in its own house. You are producing black money in your own house and are evading taxes. The Congress has a lot to answer for.

"Either you (Congress) own up that your tall leaders are evading taxes and indulging in generation of black money or you disown Singhvi."

Sharma accused the Congress of being the "fountainhead of corruption" and said this is the reason why its MPs did not give an undertaking on black money in Parliament whereas all the BJP legislators had done so.

"This is only the tip of the iceberg. The country is well aware of the fact that many tall leaders of Congress have stashed black money not only abroad but also at home. Law will surely take its course but will Congress punish Singhvi?" Patra said.

Citing details of revelations by the Income Tax Settlement Commission, Patra said there has been a substantial increase in Singhvi's income and, in a short span of time between Jan. 15, 2011, to March 31, 2011, there was a considerable jump in payments for his legal assistance.

"In this short span of about two-and-a-half months, about 18,199 vouchers were signed by Singhvi. On a single day, March 31, 2011, about 1,207 vouchers were signed. All these are self -made vouchers. No authentic bills were procured," Patra said.

Stating that the revelations of the Commission were a

matter of "grave concern", the BJP spokesperson said, "We have seen how Singhvi has no documentary proof to back his claims of how he spent his money. Today he says that all the documentary evidence was destroyed in a termite attack. That is highly ridiculous.

"The corrupt termites are now trying to hide behind the real termites."

Recalling comments made by Singhvi when the names of black money holders were declared by the Centre before Supreme Court that it was a case of "Khoda pahaad, nikli chuhiya" (dug a mountain, found a mice), Patra hit out at him saying, "Mr Singhvi, the mountain of your personal corruption stands exposed in front of the country today."

Singhvi is said to have approached the Commission seeking immunity from penalty and prosecution by saying that termites ate up his tax and expense records and he could not prove his claims. As per reports, the Commission is said to have added over Rs 91.95 crore to his declared professional income and slapped a penalty of Rs 56.67 crore on him.

Citing the Commission's revelations, Patra said that on February 28, 2012, Rs 5 crore was spent on laptops given to legal assistants whereas Singhvi's salary sheet shows he had employed 14 advocates and professionals to assist him.

"He would have to purchase 1,250 laptops (each costing Rs 40,000) to account for the amount under that head," he said.

He further alleged that Singhvi claimed to have spent Rs 35.98 crore on purchase of solar panels for his company while the owner of the company which sold the panels has agreed before IT authorities that Rs 10 crore was to be repaid to Singhvi in the form of a loan to his sons.

Patra said Singhvi cannot hide behind the excuse of "legal malaise" as the whole investigation began during the tenure of Pranab Mukherjee as the Finance Minister and continued through his successor P Chidambaram's period with only the results having come out now.