Surat financier found using 700 people to launder old notes

Surat-based financier Kishore Bhajiawala not only had his own dummy bank accounts to launder black money but he also used 700 people to deposit and withdraw cash after demonetisation, reports today said.

Bhajiawala, from whom the income tax (I-T) department recovered Rs10.45 crore in unaccounted for income, held property worth Rs400 crore. According to several reports, he had 27 bank accounts out of which 20 were benami, or under fictitious names.

Last week, investigators recovered Rs1,45,50,800 in new notes, gold worth Rs1,48,88,133, gold jewellery worth Rs4,92,96,314, diamond jewellery worth Rs1,39,34,580, and silver ingots worth Rs77,81,800 from him.

Sources in the Central Bureau of Investigation told The Economic Times that Bhajiawala had deposited Rs1 lakh, Rs2 lakh, and Rs4 lakh on 12, 13, and 14 November in different bank accounts through proxies. As many as 212 persons were used to convert old currency into new.

The investigations also found that Surat People's Cooperative Bank senior manager Pankaj Bhatt was involved in some of the transactions.

 "It is not possible to get such a large number of new currency notes without the involvement of bankers. So we have been probing the roles of various banks," a source told ET.