Former Bharatiya Janata Party leader Arun Shourie on Tuesday called demonetisation “the largest money laundering scheme ever” that had given India an “idiotic jolt”. He told NDTV that withdrawing the high-value currency notes last November was responsible for the economic slowdown in India.

“It was the largest money laundering scheme ever, conceived and implemented entirely by the government,” Shourie said, adding that demonetisation had allowed black money hoarders to convert their cash into white.

In its annual report released on August 30, the Reserve Bank of India had confirmed that Rs 15.28 lakh crore, or more than 99% of the value of currency that was scrapped, had returned to the banking system by June 30. This proved that demonetisation had not been successful in weeding out black money, one of the drive’s primary goals.

The economist and former Union minister also said that though introducing the Goods and Services Tax was an important reform, it was poorly implemented. He called the special midnight Parliament session to roll out the GST on June 30 “event management” and said a tax reform had been equated with the independence of India.

His comments come days after BJP member Yashwant Sinha criticised the government for the decline in India’s economic growth and described demonetisation as “an unmitigated economic disaster”.