New Delhi: Two days after he alleged that fugitive diamantaire Mehul Choksi had the “blessings” of former Finance Minister P Chidambaram, Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad reiterated his allegations on Wednesday, saying that the UPA government opened all its doors for “favourable companies” and even violated the Model Code of Conduct during the 2014 General Elections.
“The UPA government, during P Chidambaram's tenure, opened all doors for favourable companies. The ones who were prohibited from participating in the 80:20 gold scheme were also brought into the fold,” Prasad said while addressing the media.
"These trading houses were allowed to import gold up to 2,000 kg from any port of India. There was no control or verification. This is a downright racket," the Union Law Minister alleged.
In August 2013, the UPA government had introduced the 80:20 rule, which provisioned traders to import gold, but only after they had exported 20 percent of gold from their previous import.
The rule was scrapped in November 2014 after the NDA came to power.
“On 15th May 2014, P Chidambaram announced a new policy, in which Star Trade Operators were attached to premium trading houses which included Gitanjali Jewellers,” said Prasad.
The Union Law Minister on Wednesday further alleged that the rule was repealed in May 2014, which was “in gross violation of the Model Code of Conduct”. “Even the RBI had violated the Model Code of Conduct,” he said.
"We charge with the full sense of responsibility that under extraordinary pressure of vested interests, Chidambaram took the decision a day before the election results," said Prasad.
He probed the Congress on why did Chidambaram repeal the order right before the 2014 election results were to come out.
Earlier on Monday, Prasad had said, “There was a scheme by the name of 80:20 that was introduced in August 2013 and repealed in November 2014. On May 16, 2014, the date of the declaration of 2014 election results, the then Finance Minister gave his 'aashirvaad' to seven private companies under 80:20 Scheme. One of those companies was Gitanjali.”
This comes even as speculations are rife that the CBI might call Chidambaram for questioning in the INX Media case, in which his son, Karti Chidambaram, has already been taken into custody over allegations of accepting kickbacks from the media company.