Preliminary reports of a multi agency probe in the Rs 6,000 crore Bank of Baroda foreign exchange scam reveal that the money trail has been found and the government has initiated steps to recover the laundered money.
Sources said that investigating agencies have also got in touch with the firms in Hong Kong for the same.
“We are hopeful of recovering the money and an investigating team is already in Honk Kong to assess the situation,” said an official source who is involved with the probe. The official said that the investigation related to the case by Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) is underway and that they have managed to trace the money.
As many as 59 current accounts, opened between May 13, 2014 and June 20, 2015, are under the scrutiny of the investigating agencies.
These accounts were used for outward foreign remittance transactions aggregating to Rs 3,672.30 crore predominantly for the purpose as “advance remittance for imports” to overseas parties mainly based in Hong Kong.
Earlier, BB Joshi, executive director, BoB said 90% of the alleged illegal money transfer estimated at over Rs 6,000 crore from its branches came in from at least 30 more banks — both public and private.
The amount was transferred by the other banks through the real time gross settlement systems (RTGS).
The CVC has also urged the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to make it mandatory for banks to report cases involving multiple transactions within a span of couple of days from a single account even if they are lower than the threshold of Rs 1 lakh.
In its quarterly results for the July-September period, Bank of Baroda said the borrower account linked to the scam has been declared as fraud wherein “total exposure is Rs 374.48 crore as at the end of this quarter. Out of this, a provision of 25% amounting to Rs 93.59 crore has been provided during the quarter... the balance provision shall be made over a period not exceeding three quarters.”
Apart from BoB eight more banks including Oriental Bank of Commerce (OBC), Axis Bank, ICICI Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank, ING Vysya (now merged with Kotak), Yes Bank, DCB Bank and Dhanlaxmi Bank are under the lens of the investing agencies. CBI and ED have been probing the matter since October 12, 2015.