Dozens of rickshaw-pullers, domestic help and drivers were made directors in fake companies as part of a Rs 6172-crore money laundering scandal involving businessmen and officials of Bank of Baroda, an investigation has found.
A news report published by the Times of India on Monday said that the businessmen and bank officials allegedly paid Rs 10,000 per month to these economically backward people for using their voter ID cards to create current account in the name of fictitious companies.
The scam, called the ‘banking-hawala’ scandal, originated at the Bank of Baroda’s Ashok Vihar branch in New Delhi where two officials allegedly connived with several businessmen to facilitate the money transfer over a one-year period, the report added.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Enforcement Directorate (ED) have found the names at least 59 low-income citizens who were made directors of fake companies were “used by the exporters/importers to send their ill-gotten money to the foreign countries,” the report said.
The scam came to light after an internal audit by the bank red flagged nearly 8,000 transactions done from its Ashok Vihar branch.
The report identified the bank officials as assistant general manager SK Garg and Jainish Dubey, head of the foreign exchange division. Dubey has since been arrested by the CBI.
The businessmen named in the report are Gurcharan Singh, Chandan Bhatia, Gurucharan Singh, Sanjay Aggarwal and “many others”.
Many shell companies were also opened in Hong Kong to carry out the scam.
“The probe found that Rs 6,172 crore was deposited in these 59 accounts between August 2014 till August this year, mostly in the form of forex remittances and transfer through other banks,” the news report said.
According to the report, the bank documents showed imports of dry fruits, pulses and rice though no such transaction had taken place.
The CBI-ED probe has also detected “entry operators’ -- operating from Chandni Chowk -- who used various bank accounts for absorbing black money of several businessmen in the bank accounts.
“The entry operators provide fake purchase invoices to the tune of 3 to 4 times of the actual value of the items. They are paid money through different channels, on commission basis, through cash and then the operators put that money in several bank accounts owned by them. The money is then transferred to the Bank of Baroda accounts in smaller amounts through different banks,” the report added.
The report quoted an investigating officer as terming the scam as a case of “turning black money into white” through banking hawala channel.