The Enforcement Directorate has attached properties worth Rs 8,040 crore from people who have committed economic offence and have fled overseas, the Lok Sabha was informed today. Sharing the information during Question Hour, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said, “In the last two and a half years, government has taken a series of steps against black money and against those who (have) committed economic offences”. He said under the existing law like Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) and Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), attachment orders against “Kingfisher owner” too have have been issued by the Enforcement Directorate. He was replying to the Opposition members who raised several supplementary queries on the same. As members including Saugata Roy of Trinamool Congress took names, Deputy Speaker M Thambidurai disallowed naming anyone. On this Mr Roy said, “In that case let me say IPL man and Kingfisher man”. “What more new steps are being taken so that such offenders do not flee abroad,” the Trinamool MP asked. Mr Jaitley said the Narendra Modi government during last two and half years has taken “more steps” than any government in the past to curb black money. This is why the tax revenue also has “radically increased” in last two years notwithstanding global slowdown, he said.
To another supplementary from BJP member from Satna, Ganesh Singh, the Finance Minister said one of the chief purposes of demonetisation process was to gradually shift towards cashless economy and thus in future, the need for currency printing press will be less.
“Shahed bhabishya mein inki avashyakta na pade (May be in future there will be no need for printing press),” Mr Jaitley said responding to BJP lawmaker’s request that there should be a new currency printing press opened in his parliamentary constituency. CPI-M floor leader P Karunakaran repeatedly wanted to know how much black money has come back to the system after the imposition of note-ban. Responding to members, Mr Jaitley said one of the objectives of note-ban move was to get high denominations back into the banking system to end anonymity. “That anonymity has now vanished. It is now upon the depositors to establish that it is not black money,” he said. The Finance Minister also said, during his recent UK visit, he raised the issue of “extradition or deportation” of economic offenders who are staying put in that country.
“During my recent visit to London, the issue was discussed with my counterpart,” he said, adding that relevant agencies are trying to get the offenders back through extradition or deportation. Diplomatic channel are also being used. To a supplementary from Anupam Hazra of Trinamool Congress on how many of the old Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes “went back” to the system and how many new notes printed, Mr Jaitley said, “Every currency note has to be verified by the RBI, this is a time-consuming exercise”. He further said, “RBI has been injecting new notes systematically, last data by the RBI as on February 24 was that Rs. 11.641 lakh crore currency are made available in the economic system”. Now that a fortnight has gone by, it would have increased to Rs 12 lakh crore, Mr Jaitley added.