WHAT are the chances that one impersonates a bank official and uses his copy of Aadhaar card for depositing demonetised currency in the same bank where the official works? Jayesh Jain, a plywood dealer, found it the hard way Thursday, after an alert bank clerk flagged Jain’s application. Jain now faces charges of impersonation and cheating under the Indian Penal Code, and questions on the amount of cash he has stocked that needs to be exchanged.
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He also stands to answer questions on what other ways he may have misused copies of the Aadhaar card.
The case is now being probed by officials at Bhandup police station. It has also shown the manner in which the exchange process takes place is not foolproof. “Serious probe will follow if banks bring such cases forward. Such cases will be checked thoroughly,” said Deven Bharti, Joint Commissioner of Police.
Since Tuesday midnight, the hawala markets have been in a turmoil with many trying their best to clear excess wads of stocked cash. While many tried to transfer the value of the demonetised currency by buying gold in the secondary market, many have been trying to sell cash in the black market. Jain showed his ingenuity as he tried to misuse the data available with him. Jain deals in plywood and laminates and has a shop near NKGSB Co-operative Bank branch on LBS road in Bhandup. He also worked as an agent helping people get Aadhaar cards and doing the required paperwork.
“Jain had kept a copy of all Aadhaar cards processed by him. He decided to take advantage of the ‘extra’ Aadhaar cards and go to other banks and get some more new currency and replace the defunct notes he had,” says Sripad Kale, senior inspector of Bhandup police station, “He approached NKGSB branch near his shop in Bhandup with the Aadhaar card of one of his applicants.”
The alert clerk identified the photograph in the Aadhaar card as that of the bank manager from another branch. The clerk alerted her branch head who immediately called for the bank manager.
Jain, the police confirmed, showed signs of discomfort and repeatedly asked the staff on the cause of delay. On persistent questioning, he was told he didn’t look like the person in the photograph. “He simply said he had lost a lot of weight in the last few months and hence was looking different,” says the investigating officer.
In the meantime, the manager whose identity papers had been compromised reached the place and watched him from a distance. “He recognized Jain as the person who had processed his Aadhaar card for him,” Kale said. The bank officials soon contacted the Bhandup police who reached the bank and started questioning Jain.
“During questioning, he told us he had made an extra copy of the Aadhaar card which he had kept with himself. He had plans to go to other banks as well with other Aadhaar cards he had,” confirmed Kale. “We are trying to find out where else had he misused Aadhaar cards of other applicants in the past,” said a senior officer.
The bank was contacted but they refused to divulge any details. Jain will now have to also explain the amount he planned to exchange, and the need to misuse identity papers if the limit was anyway set for Rs 4000 for an extended period.