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Published On: Sun, Mar 4th, 2018

Budget Session-2; banking scam Opposition Set To Slug It Out In Parliament

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656756-parNEW DELHI : The second part of Parliament’s budget session is likely to begin on a stormy note with the Congress and other opposition parties set to raise the issue of multi-crore financial scams involving public-sector banks in both the Houses. The Houses of Parliament will meet on March 5 after a month-long recess in the session.
The ruling BJP, buoyed by its impressive performance in three state polls, and the opposition, armed with the issue of banking fraud, are likely to lock horns over a number of contentious matters in Parliament which reconvenes on Monday.
Both houses of Parliament will meet after a month-long recess in the Budget Session, during which the passage of the Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill, which seeks confiscation of assets of absconding fraudsters and loan defaulters, and the triple talaq bill will be high on the government’s agenda.
Opposition parties would seek an answer from Prime Minister Narendra Modi on how the Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud and other banking scams took place and how the government failed to stop them.
The government, on its part, is seeking to counter the Opposition’s offensive by bringing in the Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill. The legislation, once passed, will grant powers to the government to attach assets of persons declared fugitive.
This will include benami assets too.The bill to target economic offenders was approved by the government following the escape of diamond merchant Nirav Modi and other accused in the over Rs 12,700-crore PNB fraud. While the Opposition has not planned any joint strategy so far, it is likely to meet in a day or two to chalk out a plan for the Parliament session.
The opposition has sought to pin the blame for the fraud on the government and mounted an attack on it by pointing out that Modi, after liquor baron Vijay Mallya, is the second big offender to flee India with a huge amount of money owed to public banks.

The BJP has claimed that the PNB scam had begun when the UPA was in power and its government has acted with alacrity after the fraud came out in the open.
Treasury benches and opposition are likely to slug it out in Parliament over the matter. Congress president Rahul Gandhi has launched pointed attacks at Prime Minister Narendra Modi over this issue.
Congress leaders said that they would soon be holding a meeting with other opposition parties to chalk out a joint strategy for the session. The aim is to corner the government unitedly and demand answers from it on various issues which it has evaded in the past, a leader from the party said.

CPI leader D. Raja said the issue of PNB fraud will be taken up.“We will demand answers from the government on how the fraud happened. The banking sector is in a deep crisis and its credibility is under stake,” he told PTI.
Trinamool leader Derek O’Brien said his party is for a debate and a discussion in Parliament, and would evolve a joint opposition strategy soon. “We will coordinate with other opposition parties to expose this BJP government that has not delivered on their promises. I don’t want to name any particular issue as there are many. We have issues for every day in Parliament,”he said.(With Agency Inputs ).



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