New Delhi: Terming demonetisation as the "scam of the century", the Congress on Thursday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi will go down in India's history alongside Muhammed bin Tughlaq for the "gross misadventure" and demanded that he quit office.
"Narendra Modi will will go down in India's history alongside Muhammed bin Tughlaq for the gross misadventure of demonetisation that wreaked havoc with India's economy.
"No wonder that former PM Manmohan Singh called it organised loot and legalised plunder. Rahul Gandhi had demanded an investigation through Joint Parliamentary Committee in the demonestisation scam, layers of which have now been unveiled by the RBI annual report. Demonetisation is aptly described as Modi Made disaster," said Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala during a seminar on "Demonetization and its devastating effect on the economy and society".
Surjewala also said: "GDP data released reflects a decline from 9.2 to 5.7 and per cent the picture of colossal economic pilferage of India's economy is writ large. This itself means a loss of over Rs 3 lakh crore to the economy for which PM is solely responsible."
"If morality is still alive in India's polity then it is time for PM Modi to introspect and demit the office he holds, besides apologising to the nation for the unpardonable blunder and order an immediate investigation into the demonetisation scam," he added.
Surjewala wondered: "Where has the black money gone? Where is the fake currency? Has terrorism and Naxalism been curbed? Cost of printing new currency is more than savings - proves folly of the demonetisation? Has India moved towards digital economy?"
"Who is responsible for the death of 150 people who died in bank lines? Who is responsible for the utter confusion and consequent losses and repeated change of demonetisation rules by RBI on 128 occasions. Who is responsible for the loss of 15 lakh jobs, loss of savings of crores of housewives, crash of businesses of small shopkeepers and SMES and who is responsible for the contraction of GDP from 9.2 to 5.7 - a loss of over Rs 3 lakh crore," Surjewala asked.
"PM is solely responsible for this lapse. It is time for him to own up responsibility," he added.
Senior Congress leader Anand Sharma said demonetisation was the scam of the century and it happened under the watch of the Prime Minister, who he called a megalomaniac and thick-skinned.
"In one stroke he delivered a body blow to the Indian economy and it will take years to put the economy back on track. The government has lost its credibility though it continues to brazen it out being thick-skinned and shameless.
"Any other PM would have owned up and apologised. Unfortunately we have a PM who is so full of himself and is a megalomaniac. He will not admit to any mistake. He is above making any mistakes. He is living in a different world. Otherwise he wouldn't have done what he had done," said Sharma at the seminar.
Sharma also said: "Overnight he (Modi) created a national project of corruption controlled by few. That was a national money laundering project. It was the scam of the century.
"Time will prove it was the biggest scam that has been under the watch of PM Narendra Modi and many of his party colleagues and leaders and also those who are connected with their larger ideological family," he added.
Sharma said: "Businesses and jobs were destroyed. Informal economy was severely hurt. Over 80 per cent of the economy is dependent on informal sector. Tens of millions of jobs have been lost..
"About 99 per cent of money returned to the bank. Prime Minister Modi is thick-skinned. It doesn't matter to him at all. How did it come back if it was all black money?" Sharma asked.
"The leaders of the other countries are seeing through our PM and he talks nonsense most of the time. He thinks others don't understand all this," added Sharma.