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'Black money issue to figure prominently in my yatra'

October 09, 2011 15:15 IST
Senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader L K Advani on Sunday said the issue of bringing back Indian black money illegally stashed away abroad would figure prominently during his anti- corruption 'Jan Chetna Yatra' across the country.

"Though I will raise the issue of rampant corruption, price rise and extreme poverty that exists in the country during my Jan Chetna Yatra, issue of black money stashed away abroad will figure most prominently," he said.

Adavni was addressing a gathering of people from the rural areas of Delhi at his residence. The function was held to felicitate him ahead of the yatra which begins on October 11.

"For the last so many years, I have been saying that huge sums of Indian money have been stashed away abroad in foreign banks, especially in Switzerland," Advani said.

He recalled that during the erstwhile National Democratic Alliance government, the issue was taken up with the Swiss authorities but the latter expressed their inability to return the money or share information due to their banking secrecy laws.

"People generally ask us as to what we did about black money when we were in power for six years. I tell them before this the Swiss government never allowed us to access the information," he said.

However, due to pressure from the US and European countries, the laws were changed and Switzerland allowed access to these banking details.

"In 2009, I had rigorously raised the issue of black money during Lok Sabha elections and before that I wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh saying that when the banks in Switzerland, despite their banking secrecy laws, are returning money to other countries like America and Germany, why can't India get its money back?" Advani asked.

"I asked him (PM) to put pressure on them (Swiss authorities) and bring the money back but unfortunately he did not take any action in this regard. And when I asked him to at least reveal names of those Indian nationals, who had stashed away money abroad, which was our right to know, he did not reveal that either," Advani said.

Taking a dig at Singh, he said when he became Prime Minister he used to work under the leadership of Sonia Gandhi and the situation was not that bad then.

"However, during his second tenure -- and it's been only two years in power for him (in UPA-II) -- the situation in the country has gone from bad to worse. Everyday something or the other is happening and new scams are coming to light," Advani said.

He insisted that through his yatra he will try to awaken the country and make it realise that India has immense resources and potential to become the number one country in the world.

"But, we will not tolerate corruption, we will not tolerate extreme poverty that exists in the country even after 64 years of independence, and we will not tolerate the issue of black money," Advani added.

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