'Modi took bribes from Birla & Sahara': Kejriwal tears into demonetisation

Charu Kartikeya @CharuKeya | Updated on: 16 November 2016, 12:32 IST
Kejriwal vs Modi on demonetisation
Modi took bribes from Birla & Sahara (Malik/Catch News)

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has taken a clear lead among all Opposition leaders in taking on the Narendra Modi government's shock demonetisation move. Three days after calling the measures a scam, the Aam Aadmi Party chief used all official gunpowder at his disposal to launch an unprecedented attack on the prime minister. His government convened an emergency session of the Delhi Legislative Assembly and used the brute 67-3 majority of AAP to run down Modi and his demonetisation move.

Kejriwal, Deputy CM Manish Sisodia and several other party MLAs took turns to highlight the tragedies that demonetisation has led to and puncture the purported anti-corruption credentials of the move. Kejriwal's attack was the deadliest, in which he just didn't propose a resolution for roll-back, he also attacked Modi personally, alleging that the PM himself had been named in sensational bribery incidents.

Bribes from Birla as Gujarat CM

Although Kejriwal had initiated the discussion and proposed a resolution on the issue to be presented to President Pranab Mukherjee, he had saved the most lethal part of his attack on Modi for the end. He brought out his ammunition at the end of the discussion, building up on what he has been saying for three days - that there has been no real action against black money and the prime minister had saved his friends.

He then flashed a set of papers that he claimed were a copy of appraisal report of Income Tax raids conducted against Aditya Birla group on 15 October, 2013.

Kejriwal claimed the papers revealed that the group's then executive vice president Shubhendu Amitabh may have given a bribe of Rs 25 crore to Narendra Modi as then CM of Gujarat.

Kejriwal also alleged that the case was soon sent to the Settlement Commission after BJP came to power at the Centre and was about to be quietly buried.

Bribe from Sahara as PM

Kejriwal then came up with his most sensational allegation to date. He claimed that the Birla papers was not the only instance of Modi allegedly taking bribes from corporates. He claimed that in raids carried out against the Sahara group on 22 November 2014, over Rs 130 crores and papers about transaction of another Rs 400-500 crores were recovered. These papers too carried Modi's name. This was 6 months after Modi became PM.

Interestingly, Kejriwal did not have these papers and told the House that he will soon acquire them and present. But what he lacked in evidence, he tried to make up for in rhetoric, by asking Modi to take cognisance of the allegation and show moral strength of character by stepping down as prime minister. He sought to remind Modi of the Jain-Hawala case in which BJP patriarch L K Advani was named. He advised Modi to take a leaf out of his senior's books and resign pending inquiry.

The resolution eventually passed by the Assembly urged the President to direct the government to withdraw the 'draconian' scheme, to institute a Supreme Court-monitored probe into allegations that the scheme itself was a fraud and to request SC to also order an enquiry into the Birla and Sahara bribe incidents.