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THE Central Bureau of Investigation has booked nine office-bearers of the Muslim Cooperative Bank for allegedly exchanging demonetised notes worth Rs 40 lakh illegally and subsequently manipulating the small cash books of the bank. The headquarter of the bank is located in Pune.
Based on primary information, received after the Centre announced the demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 currency notes in November 2016, the CBI had started conducting a preliminary inquiry into allegations of illegal exchange of money by the bank.
“On Thursday, the CBI conducted searches at 32 places, including the administrative office and 17 branches of a Maharashtra-based co-operative bank, and the residential premises of the accused persons at Pune, Baramati and Lonavala, in an ongoing investigation of a case related to alleged exchange of demonetised currency notes. Incriminating documents recovered during searches are being scrutinised. An FIR has been registered against nine persons,” stated a press release by the CBI.
“It was alleged that after the announcement of demonetisation by the government, the accused officials, in conspiracy with each other, exchanged the demonetised general currency notes of Rs 1000 and Rs 500 denomination, amounting to Rs 40 lakh, with an equivalent amount in Rs 100 and Rs 50, which were collected from different branches of the bank. It was also alleged that the accused replaced the Original Small Cash Books (Cash Summary Books) of Administrative Office and Branches of the Bank, with new manipulated Small Cash Books containing the false entries, to accommodate the exchange of demonetised currency, in gross violation of banking rules and regulations,” read the CBI statement.
Agency officials said they were probing the source of the Rs 40 lakh that was allegedly exchanged and believe it was “unaccounted wealth”. “We have conducted searches in the past as well.., a case was registered after we had primary evidence and all the related documents,” said a source in the CBI.
In a statement issued on Thursday, P A Inamdar, chairman of the Muslim Cooperative Bank, said, “The CBI has visited the bank earlier as well… but they have not told us what the case was. We feel this is a pressure tactic. Two of the directors of the bank have complained against me. This seems like a political conspiracy. We assure our depositors, members and well-wishers that there is no reason to worry.”