A bank officer on Monday claimed in a Delhi court that he was threatened by officials of Enforcement Directorate (ED) and his statement was recorded under pressure in a case of alleged irregularities relating to the conversion of old currency and supply of new notes post demonetisation.
33-year-old Shobit Sinha, now a suspended manager (operations) in Axis Bank’s Kashmere Gate branch here, claimed before Additional Sessions Judge Dinesh Bhatt that he wanted to retract his statement taken by the investigating agency as it was taken under duress.
Sinha alleged that ED officials had threatened him and his family.
Special Public Prosecutor Vikas Garg, appearing for ED, opposed Sinha’s claim saying it was an after-thought and the retraction statement was being made by the accused following legal advice and it cannot be accepted.
He further said several recoveries have been made from Sinha and the bank official did not state any such thing while he was in ED’s custody.
The court also extended till January 23 the judicial custody of Sinha, 32-year-old Vineet Gupta, now suspended branch manager in the bank’s Kashmere Gate branch, and Rajeev Kumar Kushwaha, suspected to be the mastermind behind floating of shell companies.
During the hearing, Garg said the judicial custody of the accused should be extended as investigation in the case was at a crucial stage.
The court also fixed January 13 for hearing arguments on bail plea of Gupta in which he has said that he had no role in currency conversion and no recovery of articles have been made by ED from him. He has also filed an application before another court seeking to surrender in a related case lodged by Delhi Police.
ED had lodged a criminal complaint against the two bankers and others based on a Delhi Police FIR after three persons were intercepted with Rs 3.7 crore cash in old currency a few days ago in front of the bank.
ED had claimed that their probe had revealed that Rs 39 crore in cash was in question and several companies were involved in the case. It had said a gold brick worth Rs 39 lakh had been recovered from Sinha and another was yet to be found, which were alleged to be taken as commission.
It had claimed that Kushwaha “used the identity documents of various persons to form shell companies” through which cash deposits of Rs 39 crore were made between November 10 and November 22 in “close connivance” with the two bank managers.