The Congress on Friday launched a blistering attack on Amit Shah while alleging that as many as 11 banks linked to the BJP and its president accepted a whopping Rs 3,118 crore worth demonetised nlotes immediately after the note ban annlouncement by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 8 November, 2016.
Addressing an emergency conference, the Congress party’s communications in-charge, Randeep Surjewala, said that while people suffered in queues, scamsters converted black money to white. He alleged that in 11 district cooperative banks in Gujarat headed by BJP leaders, as much as Rs 3,118 crore worth of old notes were deposited within the five days after demonetisation.
He told reporters, “PM choreographed the DeMonetisation, leaving out window for black money hoarders to benefit. Nineteen months post Modi Made Disaster of Demonetisation, it is now officially clear that this entire exercise was the biggest scam in Independent India, indulged to convert its ill-gotten Black Money into White.”
“It is time for Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah to answer. Will Prime minister Modi hold a probe against Amit Shah, his party MPs and ministers?” he asked.
A beaming Surjewala added, “We expect the prime minister will himself come forward and give answers on the charges against Amit Shah, whom he has appointed. There should be an independent time-bound probe into this entire scam.”
The Congress’ argument was that since Shah managed the party’s affairs nationally, he had the direct role in the abnormal deposit of demonetised notes in banks linked to him and other key BJP functionaries.
Congress President Rahul Gandhi too tweeted using a disparaging hashtag #ShahZyadaKhaGaya (Amit Shah has eaten too much), “Congratulations Amit Shah ji , Director, Ahmedabad Dist. Cooperative Bank, on your bank winning 1st prize in the conversion of old notes to new race. 750 Cr in 5 days! Millions of Indians whose lives were destroyed by Demonetisation, salute your achievement.”
Congratulations Amit Shah ji , Director, Ahmedabad Dist. Cooperative Bank, on your bank winning 1st prize in the conversion of old notes to new race. 750 Cr in 5 days!
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) June 22, 2018
Soon #ShahZyadaKhaGaya became a top national trend on Twitter.
An RTI reply had last week sensationally revealed that a cooperative bank in Gujarat with BJP President Amit Shah as a director, had collected the highest volume of old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes that were abruptly demonetised on 8 November, 2016 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Interestingly, according to the website of the Ahmedabad District Cooperative Bank (ADCB), Shah continues to remain its director raising serious conflict of interest given his proximity to the finance ministry as the president of the ruling party. Janta Ka Reporter accessed the website on Thursday and found that Shah was still being described one of the directors of the cooperative bank. (see below). He was also the bank’s chairman in 2000. ADCB’s total deposits on March 31, 2017, were Rs 5,050 crore and its net profit for 2016-17 was Rs 14.31 crore.
Another branch with a BJP minister as its chairman received the deposit of Rs 693.19 crore in the same period. The Rajkot District Cooperative Bank has Jayeshbhai Vitthalbhai Radadiya, a cabinet minister in Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani’s government, has its chairman.
Rajkot is also believed to be a hub of Gujarat BJP politics as PM Modi was first elected from there as a legislator in 2001. “The amount of deposits made in the State Cooperative Banks (SCBs) and District Central Cooperative Banks (DCCBs) — revealed under RTI for first time since demonetisation — are astounding,” Manoranjan S. Roy, the RTI activist who made the effort to get the information was quoted by IANS.
However, just before the Congress held its press conference, National Bank for Agricultural and Rural Development, also known as NABARD, issued a statement, saying that the average deposit amount in the Ahmedabad DCCB was Rs 46,795 per account holder, which it said was lower than the average per depositor in 18 DCCBs of Gujarat, reported PTI. NABARD is the country’s apex financing agency for institutions that promote rural development.
Using the the NABARD statement, the BJP clarified that the Ahmedabad DCCB was one of the biggest in the country and that it was not out of the ordinary for it to collect such an amount, added PTI report.