Over 2,000 fresh accounts were opened in a Bareilly branch of State Bank of India post-demonetisation till December 31 to allegedly channelise black money in which at least Rs 8 crore were deposited in old notes, a CBI probe has found. The CBI has now registered an FIR against unknown bank officials and unknown persons for criminal conspiracy, cheating and corruption.
Based on source information, the CBI had carried out a surprise check in the Civil Lines branch of State Bank of India in Uttar Pradesh’s Bareilly on January 2. During the operation, the CBI detected that a huge amount of cash was deposited in the bank after November 8 last year, when the notes ban was announced, in newly-opened accounts and the dormant accounts which had been activated. The CBI had found that 2,441 new accounts were opened by bank officials between November 8 and December 31.
Out of these accounts, 667 were savings accounts, 53 were current, 94 were Jan Dhan accounts, 50 PPF, 1,518 FD, 13 festival accounts, two senior citizen accounts and one government account. The probe found that there were 794 instances at the bank when cash of over Rs 1 lakh and more was deposited. In certain cases huge cash deposits were also made but the sources refused to disclose the amount.
These accounts were opened by bank officials allegedly in connivance with private persons which enabled deposits of huge cash and currency conversion without keeping proper records. “It is observed that 267 dormant accounts have been activated after declaration of demonetisation by the bank officials in connivance with private persons in order to facilitate the deposit of old currency notes,” the FIR said. It said in order to cover up the alleged misdeeds of the officials, complete teller reports, details of receipt of old currency notes and its exchange with new currency notes was not maintained by them, though it was the responsibility of the concerned branch to maintain the teller reports.
The CBI alleged that vault register and other records maintained by cash department of the branch containing details of inward and outward movement of notes was made “casually” and a lot of alterations were made in a number of pages. “By the acts of commission and omission, the bank officials in connivance with private persons have conspired to defeat the purpose of demonetisation and facilitated exchange of black money and deposit of bank accounts without maintaining proper records,” it alleged.