07 March, New Delhi
Union Minister for Law Ravi Shankar Prasad on Wednesday alleged the Congress party during its regime created gold trading houses and allowed import of around 2,000 kilogram of the precious metal without any verification.
Describing it as “downright racket” the minister while addressing a press conference said the previous Congress regime helped celebrated jeweler Nirav Modi and his accomplice Mehul Choksi, who are accused in the multi-crore scam, under 80:20 gold import scheme implemented in 2014.
The Law Minister also said the previous government designated few companies for gold export. “Export-import rights were given only to PSUs and Public entities, SBI, and State Trading Corporation. Model code of conduct is applicable to the RBI also. 80:20 gold scheme is a matter of policy change.”
Prasad explained that former finance minister P. Chidambaram announced a new policy in 2014 in which Star Trade Operators were attached to premium trading houses, which included Gitanjali Gems, and that he opened all doors for the favorable companies.
“UPA government during P Chidambaram’s tenure opened all doors for the favorable companies. Those who have been prohibited from participating 80:20 scheme were also brought in,” he added.
In November 2014, the NDA government removed restrictions on gold imports, scrapping the 80:20 scheme amid allegations of misuse by half a dozen companies.