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FM fudged Budget figures to hide real deficit: Yashwant Sinha

Mumbai, Nov 17 (PTI) Former BJP leader Yashwant Sinhaon Sunday accused Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman of'fudging' budget numbers to conceal the real fiscal deficit.

Speaking at the Mumbai Lit Fest, Sinha, a formerfinance minister himself, alleged that Sitharaman relied onestimates used in the interim budget of February 1, though theCAG had later provided revised estimates till July 5, when theannual budget was presented.

The finance minister, in response to similarobjections earlier, had claimed that every figure in theBudget was authentic.

'She used revised estimates....because the revenuereceipts had declined so considerably that she wouldn't haveclaimed that fiscal deficit would be only 3.3 per cent orwhatever that claim was,' Sinha said.

'She fudged the figures and it was so blatantlyobvious that the figures were fudged,' he alleged.

He had called up a few MPs highlighting thediscrepancy, but none of them took it up in the House, hesaid.

The bureaucrat-turned-politician said the country wasin a 'mess', which was far more serious than what was imaginedsix months ago, and extended beyond the economy.

He also hit out at the Narendra Modi government forrevoking the Overseas Citizen of India status of writerAtish Taseer, comparing the situation to Emergency, and addedthat an era of 'personal vendetta' had begun.

Taseer's OCI status was withdrawn for allegedly notdisclosing that his father was a Pakistani national. TheGovernment had denied that it had anything to do with hisunflattering article about Modi in the Time magazine.

Referring to jailed former finance minister PChidambaram, Sinha alleged that the Modi government had alsoscrutinised all the decisions taken by him (Sinha) in the lastfour decades.

He had, still, chosen to speak his mind, he added.

The current 'undeclared emergency' is far morepernicious than a declared emergency, the former BJP leadersaid.

He also alleged that his son Jayant Sinha, who was aminister of state for finance in the first Modi government,suffered because of Sinha's criticism of the BJP.

Jayant was shifted to an 'insignificant ministry'(civil aviation) and in 2019, despite retaining his Bhagalpurseat with a bigger margin, was dropped from the government,Sinha said.

'He got his reward thanks to me,' Sinha added. PTI AAKRK KRK