Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said that those who he had taken on with the announcement of demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes “will not let me live”. In an address while laying the foundation stone for the Goa airport, he said, “I know the forces up against me, they may not let me live, they may ruin me because their loot of 70 years is in trouble, I am prepared.” He also affirmed that the Centre would attack all holders of black money, and that the decision to do away with the high-value currency notes was a big move in the fight against undeclared cash in the country.
In an emotional speech, he said, “If I commit any mistake, I am ready to face any punishment the country will give me”, and added that he had sacrificed his family and home “for the nation”. Modi said the public had high expectations from the Centre and that they had voted “to free the nation from corruption”. He urged the people of the country to bear with the temporary inconveniences for 50 days for a greater cause.
Regarding the move to demonetise the currency, Modi said the process had begun around 10 months ago, and that the step was “not a display of arrogance”. “I have seen poverty and understand people’s problems,” he said. Modi added that those part of the 2G spectrum scam were now lining up outside banks to withdraw Rs 4,000, the withdrawal limit imposed after the announcement to demonetise notes was made.
Earlier, Modi had also hinted at more action against holders of black money. In Japan on Saturday, the prime minister had said, “Some people think that after December 30, this all will end. I want to declare this once again that after the end of this scheme, there is no guarantee that something else will not be introduced to get rid of such people.”
The Bharatiya Janata Party-led government is facing flak from several Opposition parties for the move. Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal alleged that Modi had warned his aides before making the announcement, so that they could deposit their unaccounted money. The Income Tax Department has asked banks to keep them informed of deposits of Rs 2.5 lakh and above, and has said previously unaccounted money will be taxed up to 200%.