Congress re-alleges scam in printing of plastic notes, takes on Modi govt & De La Rue
Former Kerala Chief Minister Oomen Chandy descended on the National Capital on 17 January to reassert his allegations of corruption against the NDA government. The matter pertains to selection of a blacklisted company for printing of plastic currency notes, an issue first raised by Chandy himself last year.
Chandy highlighted the issue once again and made a few fresh disclosures on the issue.
Congress spokesperson Meem Afzal also alleged that the Narendra Modi-government had "compromised national interest by collaborating with a tainted firm," the UK-based note printing company, De La Rue.
The Congress claimed that the Union Home Ministry had blacklisted the company in 2012, after 2000 metric tonnes of its paper used for printing currency notes was found lying unused at its printing presses and godowns.
But, the union government is once again working closely with the firm, Congress alleged.
Congress put forward 6 key arguments to substantiate its allegation:
De La Rue's CEO Martin Sutherland told the Indian Investment Journal in September 2016 that the company has set up an office in New Delhi and is working closely with the Department of Public Finance and Promotion of the Union Government to participate in Make in India Initiative. The CEO's statement has not been contested by the Modi government.
De La Rue India declared on its official website that the company has India in focus, with a tag-line, "Giving Make in India the currency to Succeed". This affirms the firm's participation in Make in India, Congress alleged.
In its annual report for 2016, De La Rue had stated that it is trading actively in India.
De La Rue recorded a surprise 33% growth in its share value between April and November 2016. This surge is a clear pointer towards the company's active cooperation with the union government.
A day before the announcement of demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes in November 2016, India-UK joint Tech Summit began in New Delhi. De La Rue was among the platinum partners in this summit. The firm had also put up stalls at the summit. Chandy alleged the web-page of the summit (co-hosted by CII and Government of India) was summarily removed after the issue was noticed.
Finance Minister Arun Jailtley said on 10 December 2016, stated his ministry had no dealing with the said firm. The matter, however, relates to Ministry of Commerce which is overseeing Make in India and the Ministry of Science and Technology, joint organisers of the India-UK Tech summit.
In its response, De La Rue has refuted all allegations, calling them defamatory and malicious.
The company announced that it was not supplying paper for printing Indian currency and was not associated with the printing of currency in India, at present, in any form.
De La Rue added that it had also received no notice and was not aware that it was blacklisted in the country.
Chandy has urged the Union government to clear all doubts on the issue by addressing his party's allegations.