ANI Photo | “His lies stand unravelled…,” Jairam Ramesh slams PM Modi over his inheritance tax barb

Congress General Secretary Jairam Ramesh on Thursday termed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s remarks that former PM Rajiv Gandhi had abolished inheritance tax after his mother Indira Gandhi’s death to save her wealth from going to the government as “lies” and cited then finance minister’s budget speech on abolition of the estate duty.
“Yesterday the PM claimed that @INCIndia wanted to impose an Inheritance Tax. Once it became clear that it was actually the BJP that had been propagating an Inheritance Tax, he switched lanes,” Jairam Ramesh posted on X.
“Once again, his lies stand unravelled. Here is the paragraph from then-Finance Minister VP Singh’s budget speech of March 16th, 1985, which proposed the abolition of estate duty. Paragraph 88 of the speech states the reasons clearly,” he said and shared an excerpt from the speech.
“As both wealth-tax and estate duty laws apply to the property of a person, the former applying to his property before death and the latter after his death, the existence of two separate laws with reference to the same property amounts to procedural harassment to the taxpayers and the heirs of the deceased who have to comply with the provisions of two different laws,” VP Singh had said, according to the excerpt of his speech shared by Ramesh.
“Having considered the relative merits of the two taxes, I am of die view that estate duty has not achieved the twin objectives with which it was introduced, namely, to reduce unequal distribution of wealth and assist the States in financing their development schemes. While the yield from estate duty is only about Rs.20 crores, its cost of administration is relatively high. I, therefore, propose to abolish the levy of estate duty in respect of estates passing on deaths occurring on or after 16th March, 1985. I will come forward in due course with suitable legislation for this purpose,” Singh had said.
Ramesh said incidentally, Indira Gandhi gave away her ancestral property in Allahabad way back in 1970 to the Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Fund.
“Every time he opens his mouth to speak, the Prime Minister provides fresh evidence of his meanness, pettiness, and his steadfast adherence to lies,” Ramesh said.
Prime Minister Modi on Thursday had seized upon Congress leader Sam Pitroda’s remarks on inheritance tax to step up the ruling BJP’s attack on the issue of “wealth redistribution”.
Addressing an election rally in Morena, Prime Minister Modi said, “The facts relating to Inheritance Tax are eye-opening. When former PM Indira Gandhi died, her children were going to get her property. But there was a rule earlier, that before the property goes to the children some part of it was taken by the government. Congress had formulated a law on this. To save the property so that it does not go to the government, the then PM Rajiv Gandhi scrapped the inheritance law. After accumulating wealth over four generations, now they want to loot your wealth.”
After Pitroda’s remarks on inheritance tax, Congress distanced itself from the comments of the US-based president of its overseas wing and asserted that it has no plan to introduce such a tax

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