I-T sleuths detect coop bank money laundering, ₹100-cr benami properties | ranchi | Hindustan Times
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I-T sleuths detect coop bank money laundering, ₹100-cr benami properties

The income tax (I-T) department stopped the operation of two branches of the Jamshedpur Urban Cooperative Bank (JUCB) – founded by city-based builder and banker Hare Ram Singh – after detecting laundering of old notes with new ₹2000 bills worth over ₹10 crore, and benami properties worth over ₹100 crore.

ranchi Updated: Dec 17, 2016 22:40 IST
Debashish Sarkar
Income tax sleuths raided business establishments of Chandra Group and Jamshedpur Urban Cooperative Bank branches in Jamshedpur on Saturday.
Income tax sleuths raided business establishments of Chandra Group and Jamshedpur Urban Cooperative Bank branches in Jamshedpur on Saturday. (HT Photo)

The income tax (I-T) department stopped the operation of two branches of the Jamshedpur Urban Cooperative Bank (JUCB) – founded by city-based builder and banker Hare Ram Singh – after detecting laundering of old notes with new ₹2000 bills worth over ₹10 crore, and benami properties worth over ₹100 crore.

Singh is a founder member of JUCB set up in 2001.

In raids on Friday and Saturday at JUCB branches and nine business establishments of Singh’s Chandra Group, the Jamshedpur I-T investigation wing also seized ₹2.50 crore cash in demonetised ₹500 and ₹1000 banknotes, documents on unaccounted investments worth ₹50 crore, and gold. The quantity of gold could be ascertained after the group’s nine sealed lockers are opened next week.

I-T sources said computer hard discs have been seized and money transfer from at least three private banks to JUCB and channelisation of the amount to about 4000 people were being examined. “New ₹2000 notes were channelised through JUCB by three private banks to launder black money into white for commissions in the range of 25-30%,” the sources said.

“The raids are continuing. We can assess the exact magnitude of the yields only after we are able to open the sealed lockers and check the 25 frozen accounts after Singh and fellow group directors return to the city,” Vijay Kumar, I-T (investigation) deputy director, told HT, refusing to disclose further.

The department has identified real estate investments, and about a dozen properties in Jamshedpur, Uttar Pradesh and other cities. “Documents showing recent unaccounted investments worth a few crores in Group’s three schools – DAV at Patelnagar, Central School at Adityapur and Vig School at Chota Govindpur– apart from Chandra Construction and under-construction multiplex-cum-mall in Golmuri area here,” an IT official said on condition of anonymity.

Filing of returns was not proper, and books were not maintained in most of the establishments, including JUCB and the three schools, the official said.

JUCB had come under scanner in 2010 when a cooperative department investigation had found financial irregularities and recommended cancellation of its licence to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). But the then cooperative officer – who was later posted here as ADC– somehow saved it.