Stepping up attack on the RBI, former finance minister P Chidambaram on Friday wondered how Urjit Patel, within 62 days of taking over as the central bank chief, got the idea to turnaround the economy by demonetising 86 per cent of the currency. Addressing the media on the last day of depositing the invalid notes in banks, Chidambaram also demanded that the agenda and minutes of the crucial RBI Board meeting along with the Cabinet Note of demonetisation be made public.
He said that RBI, in the last 20 years, had several illustrious Governors like Bimal Jalan, Y V Reddy, D Subbarao and Raghuram Rajan, but none of them contemplated demonetisation to boost economy.
“I must compliment Dr Urjit Patel, who within 62 days after taking over, hit upon the idea that demonetisation is a way to turn around the economy,” Chidamabaram said.
Pointing out that the post of directors in RBI Board have been lying vacant for the last two-and-half years, he said only three directors participated in the Board meeting on 8 November.
“So, what I want to know is how did these three wise men and the RBI governor reach the conclusion in 30 minutes?” he asked.
According to him, the Board met at 5.30 pm on 8 November, and the recommendation was immediately sent to the Cabinet.
The Cabinet, he said, approves the recommendation in another half an hour and the Prime Minister goes on air to make the announcement on demonetisation.
“It appears to me not a process which took its natural course but a command performance where everything was pre-scripted and every one was asked to play his role. So let’s have the note placed before Board of RBI and let’s also have the Cabinet note placed before the Cabinet,” he said.
Stressing on making public the details of RBI Board meeting and Cabinet note, Chidambaram said, “Some day or other, this information must be made public. It can’t be locked away in an archive”.