New Delhi: With ATMs suddenly running dry in several states, Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday hit out at Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, accusing him of destroying the banking system in the country.
Gandhi slammed the PM for his silence on the large-scale banking frauds committed by diamond merchants Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi.
“Modiji destroyed the banking system. Nirav Modi fled with Rs300 billion [Dh16.7 billion] and the Prime Minister didn’t utter a word. He only ushered in ‘acchhe din’ [good days] for fugitive jewellers Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi,” Gandhi told media.
Taking a dig at demonetisation, Gandhi said Modi withdrew Rs500 and Rs1,000 notes from circulation and handed them over to Nirav Modi.
“We were forced to stand in queues as he snatched Rs500-Rs1,000 notes from our pockets and put them in Nirav Modi’s pocket,” he added.
The Congress president alleged that the PM personally knew Nirav and Choksi and called them by first names “Nirav bhai and Mehul bhai”.
“The ‘acchhe din’ the Prime Minister had promised for the nation have ushered only for 15 persons, including Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi. For the poor of this country, including farmers, labourers and daily-wagers, it is all ‘bure din’ (bad days),” the Congress chief said.
Cash-starved customers have been queuing outside ATMs for the last two days to withdraw currency notes but most of the machines are either out of cash or service.
Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the shortage was temporary.
“Temporary shortage of currency in some areas is being tackled. There is more than adequate currency in circulation,” Jaitley said.
He said he had reviewed the currency situation in the country and it was good.
“Overall there is more than adequate currency in circulation and also available with the banks. The temporary shortage caused by sudden and unusual increase in demand in some areas is being tackled quickly,” Jaitley said.
Minister of State for Finance S.P. Shukla said the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has formed a committee to transfer notes to the various states.
“We have cash currency of Rs1.25 trillion right now. There is one problem that some states have less currency and others have more. The government has formed state-wise committee and the RBI too has formed a committee to transfer currency from one state to the other. It will be done in three days,” Shukla said.