All drama and no logic – Kejriwal’s press conference on demonetisation

Arvind Kejriwal was an Income Tax Officer in the IRS. Being in this position, one would expect him to be fairly conversant with how the financial world works, how taxes work, how banks work, and how the parallel economy works. After he quit his job, he was known as India’s anti-corruption crusader, along with Anna Hazare, who has now lost faith in Kejriwal.

Thus, due to the nature of his previous work, and the cause he has always publicly espoused, one would have expected Kejriwal to back the demonetisation scheme. After all, even sworn political enemies of BJP like Nitish Kumar and Sharad Pawar supported the move. If not support, given his educational degree of being an IIT-ian, coupled with his work experience, one would at least expect Kejriwal to critically analyse the scheme and point out to serious, objective loopholes.

Today, the AAP supremo and Delhi Chief Minister announced that he was going to address a press conference where he will expose a “scam” related to demonitisation. But instead of any facts related to any scam, we got exactly what Delhi’s voters have got: trash and lies.

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Arvind Kejriwal concocted gossips like “some people have told me that BJP had informed some people before hand”. While this is in line with his style of spreading rumour, this time he also made some allegations which can easily be fact-checked.

For example, this was one of his claims:

“In previous quarters, deposits (growth) in banks were negative. But in the July-to-September quarter, such large amounts were being deposited in the banks. Who did all this money belong to? Had BJP told its friends in advance?”

This is so hilarious that it is sad that an IITian, IRS officer, who supposedly is against corruption, uttered such a non-nonsensical remark. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has studied the matter and said the increase was only for September 2016, because of the release of Pay Commission’s salary arrears on 31 August. Never mind that, and let us analyse what Kejriwal said.

First of all, the basic premise of this argument is ludicrous. Let us assume for arguments sake, BJP did tip off some people and they did deposit their black money in advance, before the November 8 announcement. What end goal did they achieve? What incremental benefit did they get by depositing black money in banks, 1-2 months before the Government made it mandatory? Banks are highly regulated and for many years now, even a deposit above Rs 50,000 needs a PAN to be furnished. So these so-called corrupt people can easily be detected.

Secondly, contrary to popular belief, an unexplained deposit into a bank before 8th November, and another after 8th November, face the exact same legal punishments and penalties (the 200% penalty). This is because this penalty flows from the amended Section 270A of the Income Tax Act, which came into effect from April 2016, and it covers a wide range of tax evasion and fraud, and not just cash deposits. So if these crooks, whom BJP had allegedly tipped off, deposited cash before 8th November, the source of which cannot be explained, then they will face the exact same legal process as the ones who are depositing now. So what was the exact intention of the BJP when it, as per Kejriwal, informed some of its friends?

Thirdly, if someone actually puts his black money into banks even when the Government had not asked for it, he should be called an idiot. He has himself disclosed to the formal economy that he has so much unaccounted wealth. Instead, if a real crook had known in advance about this scheme, he would tried aggressively to convert his hard cash, into other assets like real estate or gold. Remember the reports of how gold-smiths were the favoured location for many people soon after PM Modi made the announcement?

Fourth: Kejriwal’s idiotic claims can be contested using his own party’s statements. In 2015, his own party was under scrutiny for accepting cheques from dubious companies and the allegations were of money laundering. Then, his own party had said that “to put Rs 50 lakh in an Indian bank without being detected is making a mockery of India’s banking system”:

AAP 2015

Yet, today Kejriwal claims that thousands of crores of black money was deposited in banks in a move to negate getting caught by the demonetisation scheme.

Arvind Kejriwal also claimed that BJP leaders had 2000 rupee notes with them even before the announcement was made public by the Prime Minister. He based his claim on a few tweets he had posted and shared earlier. Even the Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi, Manish Sisodia had shared similar tweet.

In one of the tweets, where Kejriwal quoted tweet of an abusive journalist, he claimed that it was the proof that BJP members had got their old 500 and 1000 rupee notes exchanged before the announcement was made public:

Making such allegations based on a tweet is very flimsy and almost laughable. It should be noted that the BJP leader in question, a certain Sanjeev Kamboj, had shared pictures that were already public a day before.

For example, compare his tweet and another tweet that was posted a day before by a person who has got nothing to do with the BJP:

Looking at the content and pictures in both the above tweets, it becomes clear that the BJP leader was sharing some “leaked” pictures that had already gone viral on social media by then. It was not a picture of him personally holding that cash, as suggested by Kejriwal.

It should be further noted that reports about RBI introducing a 2000 rupee note had been published in October itself and leaked pictures of such notes had been doing the rounds. On 5th and 6th November, many people posted such leaked pictures, one of whom happened to be a BJP person.

This can hardly be termed as conclusive proof of BJP people having exchanged their notes in advance. Also, will a person really post a picture on a public forum like Twitter if he indulged in some secret act? Kejriwal thinks so.

In his press conference, Kejriwal made another fascinating and self incriminating claim. He claimed that Dollars were being sold in “black” for up to Rs 120 per dollar in Delhi itself.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is Delhi’s Chief Minister, announcing at a press conference, that he is aware of money launderers in Delhi who are converting their illicit money. So has Kejriwal given the information of such people to the cops? Or are these imaginary people?

Instead of acting against erring persons, Kejriwal actually went ahead and announced that his state government was not carrying out any raids against anybody in any suspected case of cash hoarding or tax evasion.


All in all, Kejriwal has become India’s number one rumour-monger. A great fall for a man once hailed to herald a new era of politics in India.

co-founder, OpIndia.com

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