Training guns on Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the 'Panama Papers' issue, Congress on Monday rejected government's decision to form a multi-agency group to monitor the expose as a "shoddy attempt and alleged it was "trying to brush aside the revelations".
Referring to a newspaper report about 500 Indians being named in leaked 'Panama Papers' for alleged offshore holdings, party communication department chief Randeep Surjewala said Modi's "credibility is at stake" in this episode as names which came out include "some industrialist friends and travel companions of Modi and also those who have been brand ambassadors of Modi government".
He said the party demands the investigation of the latest expose about these 500 names should also be referred to the division bench of Supreme Court. An apex court-monitored SIT is probing other black money cases of 1600 such accounts.
"The question is why Modi government is shying away from having over the investigation of these cases to the SC- monitored SIT? Why Modi government is trying to brush it aside under carpet? It seems the government is trying to hide something. If not why is it avoiding handing over the matter to the same Supreme Court division bench?
The Congress reaction came soon after the government announced that it will form a multi-agency group to monitor exposes in this regard and vowed to take action against all "unlawful" accounts held abroad.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said Modi discussed the issue with him this morning and on his advice the group has been set up comprising agencies like CBDT, RBI and FIU (Financial Intelligence Unit).
The decision came on a day the Indian Express carried a report based on leaked documents of a Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca which is said to feature links of over 500 Indians to firms and accounts in offshore tax havens.
Those included are a well-known actor and his daughter-in-law, a leading real estate tycoon and a number of other industrialists and their family members, most of whom have denied any wrongdoing.
Latching on to the issue, Surjewala said while the exposes on black money have been done by media time and again, the Modi government has "done nothing" to bring back black money in last two years, which was one of the principle and foremost poll promises of BJP.
"We reject in toto the multi-department committee set up by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. This is a shoddy attempt at this revelation about black money. We expect Prime Minister Modi and BJP will be fulfilling the test of credibility," he said.