In the backdrop of arrest of two Axis Bank managers for laundering money during the demonetisation drive, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Wednesday launched an ‘enquiry of records’ operation at over 50 bank branches across the country to detect money laundering and hawala dealing instances through these channels.
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“Enquiries are being carried out at 50 locations across the country. ED is keeping a watch on those accounts in which huge amount of money has been deposited post demonetisation. It is also checking those accounts that have shown suspicious transactions after demonetisation,” an ED statement said.
Officials said multiple teams of the Enforcement Directorate swooped early morning at over 50 branches of at least 10 banks, both in the private and public sector, along with banking auditors to “scrutinise” transaction records and account statements, armed with vital inputs gathered from financial intelligence agencies.
The ED teams were accompanied by auditors deputed by Department of Financial Services, Ministry of Finance, an ED official said. “The action has been taken in wake of allegations to the effect that certain bank officials are involved in conversion of black money into white in lieu of their commission for facilitating the same,” he added.
The ED statement said that agency teams enquired the accounts where sudden spike in deposits and thereafter corresponding transfers have taken place.
“Special accounts like Jan Dhan accounts, student’s accounts, dormant accounts would also be the focus area of investigations by the agency,” an ED official said.
Sources said the enquiries were made to determine transactions in light of RBI notification of November 8, which required every bank to submit details of exchange of currency in Annexure-6 on daily basis.
“Examination of Cash Book and Ledger of Banks on random basis were done to see which denomination notes and how much came out when business of the day started, notes deposited and received till the end of the day were analysed and verified. Special attention was paid to third party deposits with or without authority letters including scrutiny of shell companies,” the ED said.
Sources said the operation was carried out at branches located in major cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Chennai among others.
The agency had recently arrested two Axis Bank employees working at a branch in Delhi while probing a similar case.