The police have arrested two people who opened nine accounts in the Naya Bazar branch of Kotak Mahindra Bank, in which they deposited R34 crore in scrapped banknotes. The branch manager, who is suspected to have colluded with the money launderers, is absconding.
Ravindra Yadav , joint commissioner of police (crime), said the accounts were opened in fictitious names. “They had deposited R34 crore in scrapped currency since November 8, when demonetisation was announced. They were identified as Rajkumar Goel, 47, from Haryana and Ranjit, 29, from Jharkhand,” said Yadav.
The police have roped in the Enforcement Directorate (ED) into the probe. Senior police officers said they hope that the probe will lead the police to hawala operators and corrupt bank employees. They said some more bogus bank accounts could be exposed.
A police officer said the racket was unearthed in a probe into a three-month old cheating case in which R55.70 lakh was debited from a woman’s account through RTGS (Real Time Gross Settlement) transfers, using forged cheques. The woman told the police that R40.50 lakh and R15.20 were debited from her account on September 3 and 5.
The police found that forged cheques were used to transfer the money. “Investigation into the source of these cheques led the police to Rajkumar Goel, who is based in Chandni Chowk area,” said Yadav. Goel’s arrest led the police to Ranjit.
Goel and Ranjit told the police that they opened accounts in the name of several bogus firms to launder money, Yadav said.
The bank clarified that it has all the necessary documents that are needed to open an account.
“The bank has on record all necessary KYC documents, including PAN card. The bank, on its own, on observing the nature of transactions in these accounts, proactively filed a report with Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) for further investigations,” said Rohit Rao, spokesperson, Kotak Mahindra Bank.
“As per the instructions, the bank deposited the entire amount that was credited with these accounts with the Income Tax department. The bank has fully cooperated with the authorities, and has demonstrated the highest standards of compliance,” Rao said.