An official of a state-owned bank in Noida landed in police net on Sunday for helping a “friend” change the colour of his black money after alert customers informed district authorities.
Manoj Sharma, the branch manager of Oriental Bank of Commerce in Noida Phase 2, was caught red-handed while releasing Rs 1 lakh to a “friend” who came with 25 IDs to evade the demonetisation move which requires people to produce their IDs to get new notes in place of their old Rs 500/1,000 notes which have been scrapped since November 9.
After Sharma “closed” the branch declaring it had run out of cash, irate customers informed the district magistrate N P Singh that “a few people were being entertained inside”.
Singh immediately directed the police to raid the branch. After nabbing Sharma, police told him that the manager was making payment to a person who had come with 25 IDs while people were waiting outside in a long queue.
“The cops made a video of the incident for evidence,” Singh said, adding that a report of the incident has been sent to the bank chairman and the finance ministry.
OBC’s DGM J P Arya visited the branch on Monday morning to investigate the matter. “I am going to meet the district magistrate and the cops, who reportedly made a video of the incident, to request them to provide the CD which would help in ascertaining the facts,” he told HT.
A bank manager in Meerut too reported that a few persons had approached him to provide IDs in bulk to exchange Rs 5 lakh demonetised notes, but he refused.
According to locals, those suspected of hoarding black money—businessmen, corporates, politicians, doctors, etc—are not seen in the long queues outside banks because they are seeking the favour of their “friends” in banks using several IDs obtained from the staff or some telephone companies or mobile shops.
At many locations, long queues have led to law and order problems ever since Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the demonetisation move.
An employee of Ganganagar OBC directed people to sign and mention the dates on the copy of their IDs to prevent possible misuse.
Noida DM has urged authorities to delegate powers to district officials to initiate action against such malpractices.
Currently, DGMs and GMs of the banks are responsible for streamlining the operations by keeping a close watch on every branch which comes under their jurisdiction.
D P Singh, DGM of Allahabad Bank of Meerut region, made no bones in admitting that such malpractices could occur and therefore, he has instructed branch managers not to accept IDs of those who are not present in person.
“I have given strict instructions to my branch managers not to entertain even two IDs from a single customer,” said Singh who made surprise visits at branches and also directed district co-ordinators to keep a vigil on such complaints.