State transport minister Diwakar Raote directed the state owned public transport undertaking to suspend its staff or officials if they are found exchanging old Rs500 and Rs1,000 notes illegally.
The directive from Raote, who is also the chairman of the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC), comes after a cashier from Udgir depot of the undertaking in Latur district was caught exchanging demonetized notes worth Rs6 lakh illegally. MSRTC spokesperson said the cashier has been suspended.
With a fleet of 18,000 buses and 251 depots, MSRTC is one of the biggest public transport undertakings in the country. MSRTC ferries more than 60 lakh passengers and deposits Rs20 crore in its coffers daily.
The Modi government announced demonetisation of Rs500 and Rs1,000 currency notes on November 8. The MSRTC, however, is accepting old notes to avoid trouble for passengers, especially in rural parts of the state.
Along with the discontinued currency notes, a large amount of notes of Rs10, Rs20, Rs50 and Rs100 get deposited with conductors of MSRTC buses. They deposit the amount at the depots with details of notes. “If we receive any complaint about exchange of old notes with other currency notes, we will suspend the staff member and start a departmental probe immediately,” said the spokesperson.
According to MSRTC sources, exchanging the demonetised currencies has allegedly become the common practice at most of depots of the MSRTC for the past few days. Several officials too have taken advantage of the situation.