Yoga guru now wants money in Swiss banks back in India

February 26th, 2009 - 1:00 pm ICT by IANS  

Barack ObamaHaridwar, Feb 26 (IANS) Yoga guru Swami Ramdev doesn’t just want candidates with a criminal background out from this year’s Lok Sabha election fray. He also wants the money deposited by Indians in Swiss banks back in India just as the Obama administration in the US has done.
“What are the policies of our national political parties when it comes to black money deposited in Swiss banks?” he asked in the course of an interaction with reporters on the sidelines of the foundation laying ceremony of a mega food park his Patanjali Yog Peeth is setting up near here with aid from the Ministry of Food Processing Industries.

“If this money has to be brought back to India, then these parties should announce that they will bring this money back to India whatever it takes,” he said.

“This is one sureshot way through which one will know who is honest and who is not.”

The yoga guru’s latest salvo against politicians in the country comes close on the heels of a letter he sent to parties across the country in which he challenged them not to field candidates with criminal background in the general elections this year.

Ramdev said he was yet to receive a reply to this from any of these parties.

Challenging the parties to issue a statement on their stand on black money parked in Swiss banks, he said: “According to one estimate, money ranging from Rs.50-75 lakh crore (Rs.50-75 trillion/$1-1.5 trillion) is parked in Swiss bank accounts. So I dare them (political parties) to reply to this question. If they can’t reply that means the ranks of these parties are all dishonest, corrupt and they themselves have money deposited in Swiss bank accounts.”

Referring to the Barack Obama administration’s recent move to get details of Swiss bank accounts of American citizens, he said: “To bring about a change in its economy following the global meltdown and to bring in liquidity, the US has handed over a list of people with alleged financial irregularities to the internal revenue department. A federal commission there is seeking details of the accounts these people have in Swiss banks.”

The Obama administration had last week filed a lawsuit seeking the identities of thousands of possible US tax cheats who had allegedly hid billions of dollars in assets at the Swiss-based bank UBS AG. The Swiss government has, however, pledged to maintain the country’s bank secrecy laws.

Though he dismissed notions of his entering politics, Ramdev said he was embarking on a major campaign this year to ensure that the maximum number of people came out and caste their votes in the elections this year.

“Not casting your vote is like insulting our freedom, our democracy. I do not look at it as a right but as a responsibility.”

The yoga guru is planning to carry out a door-to-door campaign through his new Bharat Swabhiman Andolan, a non-political forum he has launched one aim of which is to weed out corrupt politicians from this year’s polls.

During the freewheeling media interaction, the yoga guru made open his views on the ills in the country’s political system.

Asked which party’s agenda he supported, he said: “Where is the difference between the agendas of the different parties? All the parties have the same origin, have grown from the same seed. Initially, there was only one party, the Congress. From it all other parties came about. So, when all of them have the same father, how can the sons be different?”

But then again, was he planning to float a new party?

“You will get the reply to this after this year’s Lok Sabha elections. This time I am conducting a final test,” he said.

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