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Demonetization 'largest money-laundering scheme' by govt: Arun Shourie

Days after senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha lashed out at Modi government over the economic slowdown, former Union Minister Arun Shourie has said that note ban was largest money-laundering scheme ever.

Blaming the demonetization move for the economic slowdown, in an interview to NDTV, Arun Shourie said that it was the largest money-laundering scheme ever, conceived and implemented entirely by the government.

Stating that it was an 'idiotic jolt' and everyone who had black converted it into white, he said, "The RBI has said that nearly 99% of the banned currency has been returned to banks, which suggests that black or untaxed money was not destroyed by the giant move."

Shourie also said that he agrees with Yashwant Sinha's assessment that others in the BJP share their concern over the government's economic policies but are either prevented from or scared to raise questions.

Earlier, in a newspaper article headlined, 'I need to speak up now', Yashwant had criticised Jaitley over what he called the 'mess the finance minister has made of the economy' and flayed demonetization and the way the GST had been rolled out.

Sinha, a member of the BJP s 'margdarshak mandal' that was set up in 2014 to guide the party, has also said a revival by the time of the next Lok Sabha elections due in 2019 was 'highly unlikely' and a 'hard landing' appeared inevitable.

"The demonetization has proved to be an unmitigated economic disaster, a badly conceived and poorly implemented GST has played havoc with businesses and sunk many of them and countless millions have lost their jobs with hardly any new opportunities coming the way of the new entrants to the labour market," Sinha said.

However, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley struck back at Yashwant Sinha by calling him a job applicant at the age of 80 who has forgotten his own record while heading the critical ministry.

He also charged Sinha with acting in tandem with a fellow former FM and senior Congress leader P Chidambaram, saying the two seemed to have forgotten the barbs they have used for each other.