New Delhi: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley Thursday launched a scathing attack on Congress president Rahul Gandhi calling him "Clown Prince" and that he was "lying" about Modi government waiving Rs 2.5 lakh crore of loans of 15 industrialists.
Taking to a Facebook blog to reply to Gandhi's charges made during his political rallies, Jaitley said not a single rupee of any debtor has been waived by the BJP government.
Loans to the country's 12 defaulters were given out prior to 2014 and it was only the present government which was making recoveries, he said, adding that defaulters are losing their companies and assets as they are being auctioned to recover dues.
"You lied on the Rafale deal, you lied on the NPAs. Your temperament to concoct facts raises a legitimate question--do people whose natural preference is falsehood deserve to be a part of the public discourse," he said. "The world's largest democracy must seriously introspect whether public discourse should be allowed to be polluted by the falsehood of a 'Clown Prince'."
Gandhi has repeatedly attacked the Narendra Modi government on the deal to purchase Rafale fighter jets from France, which he claims is being done at more than three times the price the previous UPA government had agreed upon. Also, he has accused the government of waiving Rs 2.5 lakh crore of loans defaulted by top industrialists.
Countering his charges, Jaitley in the blog titled - Falsehood of a 'Clown Prince' - said the previous Congress-led UPA government "concealed" the loans despite default by rolling them over and NPAs or bad loans were hidden under the carpet.
"The truth, Mr Rahul Gandhi, is that your Government allowed the banks to be looted. The loans were inadequately securitized. Your Government was in complicity," he wrote.
Jaitley charged Gandhi of "concocting a lie" and repeating it as many times and went on to cite previous arguments he had made to counter the charges on Rafale deal.
"In mature democracies, those who rely on falsehood are considered unfit for public life. Many have been banished from political activity because they were caught lying. But this rule obviously can't apply to a dynastic organisation like Congress party," he said.
"If the 'Rafale concoctions' were the first big lie, the second one stated repeatedly is that Mr Modi waived off Rs 2.50 lakh crores of 15 industrialists. Every word of that sentence repeatedly uttered by Rahul Gandhi is false."
Listing out the top 12 defaulters that included likes of Bhushan Steel and Essar Steel, Jaitley said while UPA leaders are claiming that the non-performing assets (NPAs) when they exited the government in 2014 was only Rs 2.5 lakh crore, "the truth is that actually NPAs were hidden under the carpet".
"During the UPA, most of these accounts were not declared as NPAs," Jaitley said, listing Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) brought by his government as the "only effective move". Under IBC, loan defaulting firms are being auctioned to recover the debt.
The BJP-led NDA government, he said, enabled the banks to effectively pursue the recovery.
"The recoveries are being done by the banks only now. By repeating a lie on several occasions, you can't change that reality," he said. (PTI)