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I-T lens on ‘phony’ cash deposits worth Rs 10 crore after note ban

The income-tax department has written to the Delhi police to probe cases related at least 10 bank accounts that were opened using forged identity cards, in which over Rs 10 crore of demonetized currency notes was deposited within a month of the government banning old Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes on November 8, 2016

delhi Updated: Jan 19, 2018 09:35 IST
Hindustan Times
income-tax department,Delhi news,Delhi crime
Separate investigations by the income tax department and police revealed that the address mentioned in the bank accounts was of a first-floor house in northeast Delhi measuring not more than 5x7 feet.(HT File)

The income-tax department has written to the Delhi police to probe cases related at least 10 bank accounts that were opened using forged identity cards, in which over Rs 10 crore of demonetised currency notes was deposited within a month of the government banning old Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes on November 8, 2016.

The first cash deposit was made on November 9, the first day after government announced that old Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 notes would cease to be legal tender.

Separate investigations by the income tax department and police revealed that the address mentioned in the bank accounts was of a first-floor house in northeast Delhi measuring not more than 5x7 feet. The photograph of the same person, whose real name is believed to be Gaurav Singhal, has been used in at least four cases. Police said they are questioning Singhal.

In all the four cases, the man has been identified with a different name. The address, however, is the same in all the accounts. Police said apart from Singhal there were around 10 others living in that building. Most of them were from lower income background and could not have had access to such huge funds, police said.

The Delhi police economic offences wing filed an FIR on January 12 and started investigations in the case. Additional commissioner of police (EOW) Suvashish Chaudhary confirmed that the a case has been registered but refused to divulge details.

IT officials said that on the afternoon of November 9, within a day of Prime Minister Narendra Modi announcing the note ban, the first of many cash deposits — amounting to Rs 91 lakh — was made at the Bank of Baroda branch in Vishwas Nagar, Shahadra. The bank’s location is within a kilometre of the house in which the fake bank accounts were registered. The next transaction on the same day was a deposit of Rs 1.26 crore in an Oriental Bank of Commerce account.

On November 8, the government while announcing that citizens would be given time to deposit old Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 notes,had said that they would be monitoring deposits of large amounts of unaccounted cash. After the income tax department wrote to the police, a probe followed which found that cash in different installment — of around Rs 1 crore or more — was deposited between November 9 and December 31 in empty bank accounts.

According to IT officials, during inspection they visited the house in northeast Delhi’s Shahadra where the accounts were registered and identified the man whose photograph was used in the bank’s KYC documents. The man, Gaurav Singhal, in his statement to IT officials under section 133 of IT act reportedly admitted that he had paid a Rohini resident Rs 5,000 to open the bank accounts. The IT department has submitted the statement to the police. Police said they would also probe role of officials who helped open the account in different banks.

“It appears that the man whose photo was used in opening the account is a mediator. First, we are probing the case of forgery while opening bank accounts. We will then probe the source of the money,” said a police official.

First Published: Jan 18, 2018 22:28 IST