New Delhi: Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram announced on Saturday that if the party wins the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, they would repeal the existing Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) and enact a new anti-corruption law.
During a discussion on his book, "The Watershed Year: Which Way Will India Go?" at the Kolkata Literary Festival 2024, Chidambaram expressed his intention to replace the PMLA, stating that it was enforced under pressure and not implemented willingly by the Congress after its passage in Parliament in 2002.
Chidambaram explained, "We didn't implement the PMLA willingly. When it was passed in 2002, we were pressurised to notify the act. We did. We made two amendments. I made the offence non-cognisable. Even then, I didn't anticipate that this law could be weaponised. Every law is being weaponised."
The Congress leader, along with several opposition parties, including the Congress, accused the BJP-led Centre of misusing central agencies for political vendetta, a charge that the government has refuted.
During the event, Chidambaram predicted an existential crisis for regional parties if the BJP secured victory in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. He remarked, "If PM Modi and BJP win in 2024, state parties will face an existential crisis. I hope they will realise that."
Reflecting on the government's aspiration to achieve a five-trillion-dollar economy, Chidambaram expressed skepticism about the timeline. He stated, "We haven't reached a five trillion dollar economy. I will be happy when India becomes a five trillion dollar economy. There is a well-argued view that we will become one at a specific time. They (government) said they will reach five trillion by 2023-24. Now, they are saying it will take another two years."
Acknowledging the Modi-led BJP government's efficient implementation of schemes, Chidambaram conceded, "Implementation is better in this government. I can admit it. I can see that. Why should I be unhappy? It is because there is one party which is deciding on bureaucrats."