Bank staff caught in note exchange racket in sting operation

Caught unawares by some unscrupulous bankers trying to save unaccounted cash for their clients in the wake of the demonetisation of high value currency notes announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the night of 8 November 2016, the central government has unleashed a string of sting operations on bank branches across the country to unearth bank frauds.

Under the direction of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the government has reportedly conducted sting operations in around 500 bank branches across the country. ABP News reported that CDs of the sting operations have been sent to the union finance ministry and proper action against erring bank officials would be taken at an appropriate time.

Ever since the demonetisation of old Rs500 and Rs1,000 currency notes on 8 November, several incidents of wrongdoings by bank officials to help black money hoarders have been reported.

A number of bank officials have been arrested for illegally transferring new notes against demonetised currency and for helping black money holders deposit unaccounted cash through fictitious accounts.

Several of the arrested bank officials have been suspended while several others are facing probe.

While addressing farmers during the inauguration ceremony of Amul unit in Deesa, Gujarat on 10 December, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had hinted at drastic steps against bank officials trying to fail the demonetisation drive in collusion with black money holders.

He said, ''Demonetisation is an important step towards making the country free of corruption. You would have seen that these days government is after them (corrupt). Bank officials are going to jail. People who ran away with big bundles of cash are going to jail. They thought, Modi-ji has banned Rs1000, Rs 500 but they would do something from the back gate. But they didn't know, Modi has put cameras on the back gates. All of them will be arrested, no one will be spared.

''Two months, three months, six months…whoever has sinned after November 8 will not be spared under any circumstances. All of them will have to face the punishment. Whoever has sinned to spoil the dreams of 125 crore people, will not be spared, I want to assure this to the citizens.''

Reports said over 400 CDs of sting operations have reached the ministry of finance. The CDs show how the old notes of police, pimps and influential people were exchanged with the help of bank staff.

These CDs show several banks staff and managers exchanging notes on multiple IDs while there were long queues of people waiting outside.

A report by the India Today news channel also said that the list of banks under scanner after the sting operations includes several public sector banks as well.

Reports say much of the present cash crunch has been due to diversion of new notes by erring officials at banks and post offices. Government, however, has not taken any serious action against the erring bank staff so far.

The government is expected to launch a full-scale attack on erring officials after the present liquidity conditions normalise.