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‘Raghuram Rajan is defending looting by Dhiraj Sahu’: Netizens slam ex-RBI Governor’s comments against electoral bonds

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Former RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan on Tuesday faced massive backlash for suggesting that the recovery of crores of rupees from Congress MP Dhiraj Sahu was partly a result of the Centre’s electoral bond scheme, which he said had created an unequal field for political funding. He said elections are fought with money, but the current electoral bond policy for funding favours the ruling party.

Under the current scheme, a donor can make a donation using electoral bonds without revealing his or her identity. Rajan said the only people who know who is funding through the electoral bond is the State Bank of India (SBI). He then said that secrecy is not that strong in India and “the government can always call up the people who gave the opposition and say – aap ne inko kyun diya?”. He, however, said that it is his worry and was not saying that it happens.

“They (the ruling party) will get clean money, the opposition will have to use dirty cash,” said Rajan, who is in India to promote his new book – ‘Breaking the Mould’. “At the time of the election, you raid the opposition. How are elections fought – they are fought with money. These guys (funding the ruling party) can write checks, and those guys (backing the opposition) have to take the bundles of cash. You are (not) creating a level playing field because you are making the cash to come here and checks there (to the ruling party). And then you put ED and CBI to go after those people. This is not a fair election process,” he said while speaking to The Red Mike.

Rajan’s comment was seen, by some, as a justification for black money amassed by some opposition leaders. The remarks also come at a time when Congress Rajya Sabha MP Dhiraj Sahu is at the centre of a storm after the recovery of a massive Rs 351 crore from places linked to him during raids by the Income Tax Department. A major portion of this cash was recovered from Odisha-based Boudh Distillery Private Limited, which is linked to Sahu. 

Abhishek, an author and columnist, said Rajan thinks that Dhiraj Sahu is a victim of PM Modi’s electoral bonds. “Never forget that for years media told us that Rajan is a genius committed to the development of India.”

BJP’s Mahesh Jethmalani called Rajan a ‘black money ideologue’. “Meet black money ideologue and mentor of the Congress party and Dhiraj Prasad Sahu: former RBI Governor Dr Raghuram Rajan,” he said while sharing the clip on X.

D.Muthukrishnan, a certified financial planner, expressed disappointment at Rajan’s observation and said he was much loyal to the opposition than the opposition leaders themselves. “What a fall for Raghuram Rajan. He has gone to the extent of justifying a MP’s black money running into hundreds of crores. He is much loyal to the opposition than the opposition leaders themselves.”

Vishnu Vardhan Reddy, Andhra Pradesh BJP’s vice president, said Rajan was defending what even Congress did not defend. “Meet Mr Raghuram Rajan who’s more Congressi than the actual Congressis! He is defending accumulation of hundreds of crores in cash for election purposes, a justification not even provided by @INCIndia. Kudos Mr Rajan, hope to see you fighting elections soon from Congress!”

Priti Gandhi, a BJP worker, said Rajan seemed very upset about the Income Tax raids being carried out on those who hoarded unaccounted cash. “He is openly justifying hoarding cash. This man was appointed RBI Governor by the Congress.”

Another social media user said Rahul Gandhi‘s MP looted money so that Raghuram Rajan could justify the looting.

Raghuram Rajan, who has questioned the Modi government’s demonetisation move and PLI scheme, served as RBI Governor from 2013 to 2016. Before taking over as RBI Governor, he served as the Chief Economic Adviser from August 2012 to September 2013 under then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Rajan is currently a Professor of Finance at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business.

source: Business Today

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