New Delhi, April 16 (IANS) Flagging off a new crusade against corruption and economic inequity in the country, Yoga guru, Swami Ramdev, Wednesday demanded that all the “illegal Indian money” stashed in undisclosed accounts in banks in Switzerland and tax havens around the world should be brought back to the country to benefit the poor.
The seer has timed his tirade with the Lok Sabha poll beginning Thurdsay.
“India is being plundered since the 7th century (the early Islamic invaders came to India in 7th century) . First it was the foreign invaders and now the countrymen themselves are robbing it. Just before Independence, the British robbed it. The character has not changed over the centuries. Nearly Rs 72,8000 crore in illegal (black) money is still stashed in Swiss bank accounts abroad,” Ramdev told IANS in an exclusive interview in the capital. The seer was in the capital for a couple of days in connection with his campaign.
He said the black money in the Swiss banks was our national property . “It should come back. There is widespread hunger, poverty and ignorance in our country. Why cant that money be used for the welfare of the people and society. People should get a share of the booty,” he said.
Bandying statistics, he said India had nearly 84 crore poor families. “Each family requires roughly Rs 3.64 lakh for rudimentary welfare schemes to ensure food, clothes, shelter and education. Members of Parliament get only Rs 4 crore for constutiency welfare. If the money comes back to the country, it will change the face of India.
Actually, the powers-that-be want to keep people hungry, illiterate and ignorant so that they doomed to slavery,” Ramdev said.
The seer said Switzerland in 2006 had relaxed a 300-year law that granted confidentiality (secrecy) to account-holders in Swiss Banks bowing to pressure from European Union to avoid tax frauds and money-laundering scams.
“Any poor country, which battling money launderers and tax shirkers, can access information about illegal money deposited in Swiss banks. We should take advantage of the relaxation in Swiss banking laws and investigate those people who visit to Switzerland frequently. Why do they go? Whether to transact business deals or to shoot Bollywood movies or is it because the country is a heaven on earth?” he questioned.
He said the government agencies should coordinate with the people to inquire into the money in the Swiss bank accounts.
“The fact that the government and even the people concerned are so quiet raises suspicion. Popular and government will is lacking,” Ramdev said.
The seer, who has been trying to raise awareness about unaccounted Indian money in Swiss Banks through interviews on television, said 81 per cent people- whom he has spoken to as part of a random survey- wanted black money in Swiss Banks to become an election issue.
“For me it is beyond election - it is a national issue,” he said.
The election campaign, explained Ramdev, must focus on welfare, clean politics and a harsh stand against corruption.
“People are flinging too much mud on each other and perpetrating a sham in the name of democracy. Some politicians argue that seeking information about illegal money in Swiss Banks might pose legal hurdles for India, but we can always overcome them if there is a will,” he said.
Who is the seer's ideal Prime Minister? “Someone who is neither young nor old. A young man may be inexperienced and impressionable while an old man/woman may be ill, senile and a coward. The political reins should be handed over to a person who is strong, farsighted, skilled and patriotic,” he said.
The seer has a few people on his radar, who fit the bill. “But I am not going to name them. It will rake up a controversy,” he said.