MP asks police to probe post-demonetisation deposits in cooperative banks
The Madhya Pradesh police department’s special task force has begun a probe into deposits of about Rs 110 crore made into savings accounts in the state’s cooperative banks after demonetisation.
STF additional director general (ADG) Ashok Awasthi said investigations have been launched on the basis of complaints that huge quantities of old notes were deposited in cooperative banks from November 10, 2016 to December 30, 2016 by opening new saving accounts, and that money was transferred to other banks from these accounts.
“We have started a probe of district cooperative banks in Bhopal, Gwalior and Sagar as most of the money was deposited in these banks. But it’s just the tip of the iceberg. This could be a very big scam,” he added.
On the evening of November 8, 2016, the government, in a surprise move invalidated old high-value notes, which accounted for 86% of the currency in circulation at the point in time.
An official of the state’s cooperative department said income-tax officials had already inquired into the matter and didn’t find anything amiss.
Madhya Pradesh State Cooperative (Apex) Bank managing director Pradeep Nikhra said, “Following the huge transactions during demonetisation, the IT department sought details of the accounts of cooperative banks but didn’t find anything. Now, STF has taken up the case. We don’t have any problem. We will provide all documents related to the probe.”
The ADG said new accounts were opened to deposit money in cooperative banks in violation of the Reserve Bank of India’s Know Your Customer (KYC) guidelines. “As the maximum deposit limit in an account was Rs 2 lakh, accounts were opened in the names of different members of a family. We will also probe the role of officers of cooperative banks in allowing the irregularity,” he said.
He added that STF officers are checking the credentials of all account holders with help from the district police.
Another STF officer who asked not to be identified said: “According to the complaint, many politicians and high profile people dumped huge amounts of money in cooperative banks with the help of these account holders. The probe will reveal the names. We are also looking into whether the deposited money was transferred to bank accounts in other states.”