On 12th November 2018, Rahul Gandhi met Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to discuss ‘fake news’. This drew a litany of responses from many considering Rahul Gandhi and his party themselves are purveyors fake news and also because Twitter hasn’t been the most unbiased platform lately.
The irony of the matter became even more glaring when on the very day that Rahul Gandhi and the Twitter CEO met to discuss fake news, Rahul Gandhi took to Twitter to spread fake news about Prime Minister Narendra Modi and how demonetisation has led to action against Shell companies.
Congress President Rahul Gandhi took to Twitter and tweeted a ‘barf’ worthy tweet. He asserted that the PM Modi was ‘barfing’ about how demonetisation led to action against Shell firms. He also mentioned a litany of lies against other people connected to BJP.
The PM’s latest Demonetisation barf is, “Shell Firms”.
Ironically, the only “Shell” firms identified after the great Demonetisation tragedy are:
It takes a thief to know a thief. https://t.co/SdRdZhwx6i
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) November 12, 2018
Rahul Gandhi’s first lie was that demonetisation has not led to action against Shell companies. A shell company is a non-trading company used as a vehicle for various financial manoeuvres or kept dormant for future use in some other capacity.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on 8th November 2016 declared that Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes would be considered illegal tenders. The move had a significant impact on formalising the economy, digitisation of transactions and left-wing terrorism. Following the step, a major crackdown on shell companies was initiated by the Modi government.
In April 2017, ED raided hundreds of locations in 16 cities in order to crack down on shell companies. Various teams comprising of 300 officials raided the premises in cities like Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, Chandigarh, Patna, Ranchi, Ahmedabad, Bhubaneswar and Bengaluru to name a few.
Some of the companies which were raided had links to prominent politicians like YSR Congress chief Jagan Mohan Reddy, NCP leader Chhagan Bhujbal and a controversial Noida bureaucrat Yadav Singh. Incidentally, Reddy, Bhujbal have been under investigation for money laundering in the past.
In 2017, the government had advised banks to “put restrictions” on the operation of bank accounts of the 2,09,032 companies delisted by the Registrar of Companies. Most of these companies are suspected to be shell companies. In July 2017 itself, the Modi government had de-registered 1 lakh shell firms.
The data received from the banks says that these companies had a meagre balance of Rs 22.05 crore to their credit on 8th November 2016. However, from 9th November 2016 i.e. after the announcement of demonetization, till the date of their being struck off, these companies had altogether deposited a huge amount of Rs. 4,573.87 crore in their accounts and withdrawn an equally large amount of Rs 4,552 crore. With loan accounts, there was a negative opening balance of Rs 80.79 crore. At this time, the government had planned to take massive steps against shell companies.
In September 2017, the Modi government had blacklisted 3 lakh Directors of shell companies.
Then, the MCA had released data in which almost 73,000 companies have been deregistered and have made to deposit more than Rs. 24,000 crore in bank accounts post demonetization. The Ministry document said that there are 68 companies are under investigation. The Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) is also probing 19 companies while the Registrars of Companies (RoC) are investigating 49 firms, it added. In another report, the data show that the direct tax collection post demonetization has increased by 15.3%, which amounts to the collection of Rs. 9.80 crores of direct tax alone.