As the Opposition targeted the BJP on the Punjab National Bank scam, the ruling party on Monday returned fire and said it was the Congress-led UPA that had destroyed the economy by derailing the banking system.

Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad accused former Finance Minister P Chidambaram of providing gold import benefits to seven companies, including Gitanjali Gems, on the counting day of 2014 Lok Sabha polls.

Stressed assets

Prasad said the erstwhile UPA government destroyed the economy by not letting the real stressed assets get reflected in banks’ books. He alleged that total advances given by banks in the last six years of its rule rose to ₹52.15 lakh crore from ₹18.06 lakh crore in 2008.

“Only 36 per cent of these advances were identified as stressed assets, but they rose to 82 per cent,” he said.

Terming former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Chidambaram as “so-called” economists, he said they derailed the banking system by interventions, patronage and pressure.

Prasad alleged that Chidambaram gave seven private firms benefits under 80:20 gold import scheme on May 16, 2014.

“What does it mean? On May 16, the Manmohan Singh government was losing, P Chidambaram’s chair is in danger... Chidamrabarm and Congress chief Rahul Gandhi should tell us why this order to benefit seven private firms was passed on that day. Is it corruption or jumla ?” he asked.

“Mr Chidambaram please reply, is it jumla or blatant favouritism, mala fide conduct and rampant corruption? The Congress party should answer who were these people lobbying for Gitanjali and what was the cut,” he said, and added that no corrupt people will be spared by the BJP government.

“Congress is anti-reform and that is why it is opposed to Aadhaar and the GST because these measures bring about transparency and curb corruption,” he said.