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Lalit Modi case: Chidambaram to continue with questioning

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

The Congress on Thursday rejected the arguments given by the government during a debate on the Lalit Modi issue in the Lok Sabha and said it would continue to raise its voice and ask questions on the matter.

“The monsoon session of parliament has come to an end. It began with BJP’s acrimony and ended with more acrimony on their part. Is anyone wiser at the end of the session on Modigate issue that was the cause of so much debate,” senior Congress leader and former finance minister P. Chidambaram asked at a press conference here.

He said while putting forward the government’s views on the Lalit Modi issue on Wednesday, both Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj failed to answer the questions posed by the Congress.

“Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley made last ditch efforts. They did everything except answer the crucial questions that arose out of Sushma Swaraj’s intervention on behalf of Lalit Modi,” he said.

“Why did she think Lalit Modi needed a British travel document and not an Indian travel document? Why did she keep her ministry in the dark,” he asked.

Chidambaram asked why the government was refusing to release the letters between the finance ministers of the two countries. “Why are Jaitley and Sushma Swaraj selectively quoting a few words from the letters instead of releasing the full texts of the letters?”

The Congress leader said some facts that tumbled out were that the external affairs minister intervened with the British High Commissioner on behalf of Lalit Modi at a time when his passport had been cancelled and the case was pending in the high court and that her ministry has so far not appealed against the high court order setting aside the cancellation of the passport.

The former finance minister said: “I am afraid that the two ministers have failed the government and the people. Instead of a debate, we got a diatribe. Instead of answers, we got sermons. Instead of facts, we got a fudge.”

“If the ministers think these questions will go away, I am afraid they will not,” he said.

The monsoon session of parliament saw repeated disruptions and ruckus as the opposition, led by the Congress, created uproar over the alleged help to Lalit Modi by Sushma Swaraj and Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje and the Vyapam recruitment scam in Madhya Pradesh.

Chidambaram also demanded an “unqualified apology” from Sushma Swaraj over her references to the Bofors case and the Gandhi’s family’s role in it.

“We take strong exception to the blatantly false references made by her to the late Bofors case  and alleged payments to him by Quattrocci,” he said.

Chidambaram quoted from judgments that said the charges against Rajiv Gandhi had been quashed.

On the Congress’ stand on a special session for the passage of Goods and Services Tax Bill, he said it was his party which scripted the bill.

“We have three fundamental objections; if those are addressed the other differences can be resolved,” he said.

 

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Is investing in Bitcoin safe? Get the basics first!

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India has not legitimized bitcoin, hence investment returns are totally based on demand i.e. you get your return only if there is another buyer in the market who is ready to pay you more for it. Currently the high-value of the digital currency owes to its high demand, but once people start selling, there is a possibility that rates will drastically fall. Pixabay
India has not legitimized bitcoin, hence investment returns are totally based on demand i.e. you get your return only if there is another buyer in the market who is ready to pay you more for it. Currently the high-value of the digital currency owes to its high demand, but once people start selling, there is a possibility that rates will drastically fall. Pixabay

With the fussy mania of Bitcoin going around and past, your eyes and ears, in the news and peer discussions, you must be having some basic questions about it: What is bitcoin? Is it legal? How can I get it? But most of all, you must be thinking, ‘Is investing in Bitcoin safe?’

Let’s find out!

Pluto Exchange has launched first app that will trade in bitcoins in India
Pluto Exchange has launched the first app that will trade in bitcoins in India. Wikimedia commons

ALSO READ: Bitcoin Worth Millions Stolen Days Before US Exchange Opens

Clearing the basics

  • Bitcoin is the first ever cryptocurrency that existed, it was invented in 2009 by Satoshi Nakamoto.
  • Cryptocurrencies are nothing but computer codes that have monetary value. No Government has any control over them.
  • Bitcoins ‘self-contain’ their value i.e. there’s no need for any bank to move or store the money.
  • Bitcoin currency is completely unregulated and decentralized.
  • Bitcoins are mined, and they can be mined by anyone in the general public who has a strong computer. However, only 21 billion of bitcoins in total can be mined. Currently, there are around 11 million in circulation.
  • Bitcoin has no underlying physical monetary base to support its value, and it is totally subject to its demand in the market.

What are the risks?

  • Low demand: India has not legitimized bitcoin, hence investment returns are totally based on demand i.e. you get your return only if there is another buyer in the market who is ready to pay you more for it. Currently, the high-value of the digital currency owes to its high demand, but once people start selling, there is a possibility that rates will drastically fall.
  • Unregulated: There is no bank or government tax agency that can track your money and its movement. Hence, it can become a tool for money laundering.
  • Irreversible transactions: There is no insurance protection of your bitcoin wallet i.e. if you lose your wallet’s hard drive data or even your password, your wallet’s content is gone forever.
There is no insurance protection of your bitcoin wallet i.e. if you lose your wallet’s hard drive data or even your password, your wallet’s content is gone forever. Pixabay
There is no insurance protection of your bitcoin wallet i.e. if you lose your wallet’s hard drive data or even your password, your wallet’s content is gone forever. Pixabay

ALSO READ: How can you trade in Bitcoin in India?

Status of Bitcoin in India

Finance minister Arun Jaitley highlighted in a statement that cryptocurrencies are not legal tender and have no regulatory permission or protection in the country.

However, there was no announcement banning or imposing any curbs on the same. The government panel is also awaiting a report on tackling cryptocurrencies in India, Jaitley said.

The government has recently cautioned investors to be wary of virtual currencies like bitcoin, saying they are like Ponzi schemes with no legal tender and protection.

“One of the features of cryptocurrency is that there is lack of dependence on the state. It functions with a degree of anonymity. It operates within a virtual community which is created and enjoys the trust of that virtual community,” Finance Minister Arun Jaitley told the Rajya Sabha.

“The government is examining the matter. A Committee under the chairmanship of the Economic Affairs Department Secretary is deliberating over all issues related to cryptocurrencies to propose specific actions to be taken… Instead of taking any knee-jerk action, let’s wait for the report of this committee.” Jaitley added