February 4, 2017 2:29:23 am
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday filed its first chargesheet in money laundering cases against officials of an Axis Bank branch, and others, for alleged illegal conversion of scrapped currency notes.
The agency has named two bank officials working at the Kashmere Gate branch in Delhi. Vineet Gupta (branch head) and Shobhit Sinha (operations head), with “active connivance” of a private person Rajeev S Kushwaha, deposited “huge amounts of demonetised currency of various firms and companies run by Kushwaha to the tune of Rs 40 crore for a huge commission, and converted it into monetised form like Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) transfers and gold, said the chargesheet.
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The case was first detected by Delhi Police after it intercepted three persons with about Rs 3.7 crore cash in old notes in front of the Axis Bank branch in November last year. The ED took cognisance of the FIR and slapped money laundering charges against the accused. The trio were arrested in December last year, and are currently in judicial custody.
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Detailing their modus operandi, the agency said, the trio used to “deposit money after banking hours at around 6 pm”. The money deposited in these accounts was then transferred to different accounts within minutes to different companies through RTGS transfers.
No Suspicious Transaction Reports (STRs) were filed by the bank officials and the deposits were made without authorisation, bypassing banking formalities.
ED said, “It all started after demonetisation (on November 8, 2016) when people with illegal money began converting their old currency notes into gold/legal tender. These bullion traders wanted payments in RTGS or transfer of money through banking channel.”
“Kushwaha was holding various fictitious companies/firms namely Ms Himalaya International, Ms RD Trader and Ms Beagle Marketing and Ms Sunrise Trading,” the chargesheet stated. It further said, “They (Kushwaha and others) contacted Gupta and Sinha to get special facilities to put the old currency into the banking system through their fictitious/shell companies having current accounts in Kashmere Gate branch by offering huge commission.”
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