A Delhi court on Thursday remanded in 11-day judicial custody an official of a private bank and another person in a case of alleged irregularities related to conversion of old currency and supply of new notes. Additional Sessions Judge Vimal Kumar Yadav sent 32-year-old Vineet Gupta, now suspended Branch Manager in Axis Bank’s Kashmere Gate branch in New Delhi, and Rajeev Kumar Kushwaha, alleged to be the mastermind behind floating of shell companies, to judicial custody till December 26.
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The two accused were produced in the court on expiry of their Enforcement Directorate’s (ED) custody. During the hearing, ED’s special public prosecutor Vikas Garg pleaded that the two accused be sent to judicial custody as the investigation in the case was at a crucial stage.
The third arrested accused, 33-year-old Shobit Sinha, now suspended manager(operations) in the bank, is also in judicial custody till December 26.
The prosecutor had earlier claimed in court that Gupta was not cooperating in the probe and was “frustrating” the proceedings under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) in the case.
Gupta and Sinha were arrested by ED on December 4 and they were later on suspended by the bank.
ED had earlier told the court that the two officials, in connivance with others, were indulging in illegally changing demonetised currency into new notes.
ED claimed that the probe has so far revealed that Rs 40 crore worth of currency and several companies were involved in the case. It had said a gold brick worth Rs 39 lakh has been recovered from Sinha while another is yet to be recovered.
It had claimed that Kushwaha “used the identity documents of various persons to form shell companies” through which cash deposits worth Rs 39 crore were made between November 10 and November 22 in “close connivance” with the two bank managers.
The prosecutor had said the two bank officials were taking one per cent commission against the total amount of money deposited. They agreed to accept the commission in the form of gold bar which was worth Rs 39 lakh, he had said.
Axis Bank had said in a statement, “The bank is committed to following the highest standards of corporate governance and has zero tolerance towards any deviation on the part of any of its employees from the set model code of conduct. In this particular case, the bank has suspended the erring employee and is cooperating with the investigating agencies.”
A number of bank accounts of various people and traders are under the scanner of the agency in the case, ED had said.
ED had lodged a criminal complaint against the two bankers and others based on a Delhi Police FIR after three persons were intercepted with Rs 3.7 crore cash in old currency a few days ago in front of the bank’s Kashmere Gate branch. The Income Tax department too had surveyed the bank branch and searched the residential premises of the two.