Calling the 2016 move of introducing the Rs 2,000 notes as "foolish", senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Monday alleged that the currency denomination only helped keepers of black money to hoard money with ease and now they were being "welcomed on a red carpet" to exchange their notes.
The former finance minister's attack on the BJP government comes after the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Friday made a surprise announcement of withdrawal of Rs 2,000 currency notes but gave the public time till September 30 to either deposit the Rs 2,000 notes in accounts or exchange them at banks.
It said it had asked banks to stop issuing Rs 2,000 notes with immediate effect.
In a Twitter post, Chidambaram said, "Banks have clarified that no identity, no forms and no proof will be required to exchange the Rs 2000 notes. The BJP's spin that the Rs 2000 notes are being withdrawn to unearth black money stands demolished."
Ordinary people do not have Rs 2,000 notes as they shunned it soon after it was introduced in 2016, he said, adding they were useless for daily retail exchange.
"So, who kept the Rs 2000 notes and used them? You know the answer. The Rs 2,000 note only helped keepers of black money to hoard their money with ease," Chidamabaram said.
"The keepers of Rs 2,000 notes are being welcomed on a red carpet to exchange their notes! So much for the government's declared objective of rooting out black money," the former finance minister said.
Banks have clarified that no identity, no forms and no proof will be required to exchange the Rs 2000 notes— P. Chidambaram (@PChidambaram_IN) May 22, 2023
The BJP's spin that the Rs 2000 notes are being withdrawn to unearth black money stands demolished
Ordinary people do not have Rs 2000 notes. They shunned it soon after…
Chidambaram said the Rs 2,000 note was a "foolish" move in 2016. He said he was glad that the foolish move is being withdrawn at least seven years later.
The Congress leader on Friday last had hit out at the government after the RBI's announcement, saying the Rs 2,000 note was a "band-aid" to cover up the "foolish decision" of demonetising Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes.
The former Union finance minister had said that a few weeks after demonetisation, the government and the RBI were forced to re-introduce the Rs 500 note and he will not be surprised if the Centre re-introduces the Rs 1,000 note as well.