Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Saturday said the existing Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) would be repealed and a new anti-corruption law would be made if the party is voted to power in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.
“If we come to power, the PMLA will be repealed. We will make a new PMLA law,” Chidambaram said during a discussion on his book, “The Watershed Year: Which Way Will India Go?” at the Kolkata Literary Festival 2024.
He asserted that the PMLA was not “implemented willingly” and said the Congress was “pressurised” to notify the act after it was passed in Parliament in 2002.
“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,” he added.
Several Opposition parties, including the Congress, have accused the BJP-led Centre of misusing central agencies by using them as a tool for political vendetta, allegations that the government has denied.
At the event, Chidambaram alleged that regional parties would face an existential crisis if the BJP won the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
“If PM Modi and BJP win in 2024, state parties will face an existential crisis. I hope they will realise that,” he said.
Chidambaram, a former finance minister, touched upon the government’s promise of making India a five-trillion-dollar economy, saying he would be “happy” that the country would attain the feat, but questioned the timeline.
“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,” Chidambaram further said.
He admitted that the Narendra Modi-led BJP government had a “better” way of implementing schemes.
“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,” the Congress leader further said.