New Delhi: Asserting that black money was generated during the Congress-led UPA regime, Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu on Thursday said the government, which had constituted the Special Investigation Team (SIT) after coming to power, has nothing to apologise or hide on this issue.
Attempting to silence all critics, Naidu alleged that the former UPA Government, which was supported by the Samajwadi Party, Left parties and the Trinamool Congress (TMC), did not initiate any firm steps on the black money issue.
"Moreover even after the Supreme Court had given an advice in 2011 and upto 2014 three years, you have not even constituted a Special Investigation Team (SIT)," he added.
Talking about the government's seriousness in dealing with the black money issue, he said: "We after coming to power on the very first day of our Cabinet meeting, the first item was constitution of the Special Investigation Team (SIT) to unearth black money and to pursue the case of black money. That is the proactiveness, for that why should we apologise to you," said Naidu.
"Our Prime Minister has taken up the issue at the G-20 in a big way; should we apologise for that. Our Finance Minister has engaged number of countries in bilateral discussion to see that those countries support us in giving the required evidence to unearth black money and then bring it back into India; is it a wrong thing," he added.
Taking potshots at the Congress party on the black money issue, Naidu alleged that it went out of the country during the UPA regime.
"And then they have slept over the matter for whatever reason , may be in order to allow their own people to escape from the responsibility or laxity in administration," he added.
The Parliamentary Affairs Minister further said that government was ready to discuss the black money issue as it has done in the past.
"We have no problems at all, we are willing to discuss any issue at any length as per the rules," he added.
Meanwhile, the Trinamool Congress (TMC) members staged a protest outside the Parliament today on the black money issue.
Responding to the debate on black money issue in the Rajya Sabha, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley earlier on Wednesday asserted that the Centre is committed to identify every black money account holder and said that the government has identified holders of 427 accounts abroad and notices have been sent to them.
Jaitley further said that automatic exchange of information is going to be the next step in the global black money probe. The Finance Minister also said that a populist stance on black money would help black money account holders.