Co-op banks used notes ban as opportunity to launder crores: I-T dept

National | Jan. 10, 2017, 4:57 a.m.

New Delhi, Jan 9: The Income Tax department has raised serious concerns over the working of a number of cooperative banks across the country claiming they used the "opportunity" of demonetisation to make a quick buck and indulge in money laundering worth several crores.

An analysis report prepared by the department that has been accessed by PTI, said tax sleuths found these banks have been involved in generating and routing of black money at an "unprecedented" scale post November 8 when the currency scrap was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The report claims that "collusion in such illegal activities took several forms" as it goes on to chronicle the alleged clever and illegal modus operandi adopted by these banks to launder huge monies and criminally indulge in transaction of black money.

The I-T probe found that in the case of such a bank based in the small town of Alwar in Rajasthan, the directors of the bank cheated it of Rs 8 crore "by fraudulently obtaining loans in the names of 90 persons of doubtful identities" even as it was used to launder personal "unaccounted cash" of Rs 2 crore

by the management. 

"In a case of a co-operative bank at Jaipur, unrecorded cash of Rs 1.5 crore was found secreted in an almirah in the 'clearing house' room of the bank," the analysis report said, adding it was also found by an I-T team that made a surprise visit to the bank that over 2000 new notes of Rs 2,000 were "taken out of the bank illegally".

In a majority of these cases involving cooperative banks, the I-T department said it was found, that the banks used weak KYC documents and the transaction records were recorded, giving a hoot to banking rules and laws as framed by the RBI. A huge amount of cash was seized by the department from un-allotted and benami lockers in multiple cities, prominently from small cities like Solapur, Pandharpur (in Maharashtra), Surat (Gujarat) and Jaipur in Rajasthan, it said.

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