The CPI-M has accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP of taking one step after another “to shield corruption and allow the rich to launder black money”.

This is being done “contrary to the strident statements against black money and corruption” they make in public, an editorial in the CPI-M journal “People’s Democracy” said.

It said the Modi government had raised the upper limit for buying jewellery without submitting PAN-Aadhar details to Rs 2 lakh per transaction.

Earlier, in August, the government had amended the Prevention of Money Laundering Act to make PAN and Aadhar mandatory for jewellery purchases above Rs 50,000 per transaction.

Thus, buying gold and other forms of jewellery beyond Rs 50,000 required stringent “Know Your Customer” (KYC) norms. “The purpose of this amendment was to curb the purchase of gold and jewellery for conversion of black money.

“By diluting this measure, the government has undermined its own claim to fight black money by not insisting on registering jewellery purchases up to Rs 2 lakh.

“Repeated transactions of jewellery purchases below Rs 2 lakh will facilitate conversion of black money and money laundering,” the editorial said.

“What this step signals is that the rich can evade taxes and convert black money under government’s auspices while the poor have to face stringent conditions of being linked to Aadhaar to get their PDS rations and other basic facilities,” it added.

The CPI-M then said that the ordinance promulgated by the BJP government in Rajasthan, which critics say will shield public servants, judges and magistrates from allegations of corruption, was meant to gag the media and citizens from exposing cases of corruption.

After widespread opposition to the measure, the Rajasthan Assembly has referred the bill to a Select Committee but the ordinance remains in force.

The CPI-M also accused the Modi government and the BJP of going about gagging the media in the affair involving Jay Shah, son of BJP President Amit Shah.

“The Modi government has permitted the Additional Solicitor General to appear on behalf of Shah in court. Far from investigating the matter, the Modi government seems bent upon assisting Amit Shah’s son to escape any scrutiny for his business dealings.

“Given this blatant protection of those facing allegations of corruption, it is not surprising that the BJP government has not taken any step to constitute the Lokpal as per the law, even three-and-a-half-years after it came to power,” the editorial said.