A man displays 500 Indian rupee notes during a rally organised by India’s main opposition Congress party against the government's decision to withdraw 500 and 1000 Indian rupee banknotes from circulation, in Ajmer, India, in November. Photo: Reuters / Himanshu Sharma

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of India’s Parliament could summon Prime Minister Narendra Modi if the explanations provided by the finance ministry and central bank as to the reasons for demonetization are not satisfactory, the news agency PTI has reported.

The committee has sent the ministry and bank a questionnaire about the note ban, with answers expected before January 20, when the committee meets in Delhi. The replies will be examined thoroughly but if they do not convince the panel, it may summon Modi to explain his sudden decision to demonetize, PAC Chairman KV Thomas said.

Reserve Bank of India Governor Urjit Patel, Finance Secretary Ashok Lavasa and Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das will be present at the meeting.

Earlier, after a meeting with Modi, Thomas said the was misleading the country to satisfy own his ego. He had took the wrong decisions in a callous manner, Thomas said, and was now trying to defend them.

Among the questions raised by the PAC with regard to the note ban are:

  • Who was involved in the decision-making?
  • How much money has come back into banks since demonetization?
  • Is there a law that can restrict people from accessing their money?
  • How much money has been pumped back into the system?
  • Has the ‘black money’ issue been addressed?
  • And what is the impact of demonetization on the economy and poor people?

In a Facebook post Sunday, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley reaffirmed his view that black money does not “turn white” simply through depositing a large amount of high value currency notes. However, it loses its anonymity, he said, and can be traced to its owner, who can be taxed and fined.

He said indirect tax collection in December grew by 14.2% year-on-year and was up 12.8% compared with the figure in November 2016.

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