New Delhi: The Congress on Saturday stepped up attack on the Narendra Modi government over 50 per cent jump in deposits by Indians in Swiss banks, saying the money that was earlier being called "black" by BJP ministers was now being termed as "white".
The party also said that demonetisation was a government-created "money laundering scam" and alleged that the Modi government was protecting "its suited-booted friends" and helping convert "their black money into white".
Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala accused both Union Minister Arun Jaitley and Interim Finance Minister Piyush Goyal of speaking "fair and lovely lies".
"Pre May 2014, Money in Swiss banks was 'Black'. In 49 months of Modi Govt, it turned 'White'. While the 2 FMs(?) defend 'Swiss bank A/C holders' saying it's not 'Illegal', CBDT says no information on Swiss nank A/C would be available till September 2019. FAIR & LOVELY LIES OF FMs?" Surjewala said in a tweet.
He alleged that the two ministers were rushing to defend all Swiss bank account holders without information.
"Dear PM, CBDT circular also says you'll receive information in September 2019 of 'Swiss bank A/C holders' for the Year 2018 & thereafter only. What about info before the Year 2018? Why are the 2 FMs(?) then rushing to defend all 'Swiss bank A/C holders' without any information?" Surjewala added.
He said Prime Minister Modi had said in the run-up to the 2014 Lok Sabha elections that "every child knows 'black money is kept in Swiss banks'", but the stance of government has changed.
"Dear Modiji, On Dec 22, 2013; you said every child knows 'black money is kept in Swiss banks'. On 29th June, 2018, your FM's say 'It's stupid to say money in Swiss banks is mlack'. Which one of these two statements is 'stupid'? If Swiss boney is 'white', where is 'black money'?," he asked.
Party spokesperson Priyanka Chaturvedi also hit out at the BJP government.
"First time in India's history we have we have India's Finance Minister coming forward to defend them (Swiss bank account holders)," she said.
"What is pushing this government to continue to protect their suited-booted friends at the expense of the common man? What has changed in a policy of this government to continue to protect people who hold accounts in foreign banks?" she said.
She said the government has actually created a "money laundering scam".
She asked why the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) did not insist on Swiss authorities to reveal bank details of Indians since Independence.
"When they decided on this agreement, why they did not get all the account holders since 1947? Why they are insisting from 2018? Who are they trying to protect and why are they trying to protect is a question," she said.
Jaitley had in a blog on Friday said that the Indians who have illegally stashed unaccounted money in Swiss banks would face harsh penal proceedings under the black money law after Switzerland starts sharing details of accounts from next year under a bilateral agreement on automatic exchange of information.
He had said that casting doubt on the efficacy of the government's anti-black money measures was a "misinformed reaction".
Goyal had told reporters that under an agreement signed by the Modi government with Switzerland, all data from January 1, 2018, would be made available to the Indian government.
The data showed that after falling for three years in succession, money parked by Indians in Swiss banks rose 50 per cent to Swiss Francs 1.02 billion in 2017 over the previous year.