SBI branch opened 2,000 accounts to launder over Rs8 cr in scrapped currency: CBI

A State Bank of India (SBI) branch in Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh, is reported to have opened over 2,000 accounts between 8 November and 31 December 2016 to allegedly to launder at least Rs8 crore deposited in old notes

The CBI had carried out a surprise check in the Civil Lines branch of State Bank of India in Bareilly in Uttar Pradesh on 2 January.

The CBI had found that 2,441 new accounts were opened by bank officials between November 8 and December 31.

Out of these accounts, 667 were savings accounts, 53 were current, 94 were Jan Dhan accounts, 50 PPF, 1,518 FD, 13 festival accounts, two senior citizen accounts and one government account.

The CBI has now registered an FIR against unknown bank officials and unknown persons for criminal conspiracy, cheating and corruption.

During the operation, the CBI detected that a huge amount of cash was deposited in the bank after 8 November last year, when the note ban was announced, in newly-opened accounts and the dormant accounts, which had been activated.

The CBI found that there were 794 instances at the bank when cash of over Rs1 lakh and more was deposited. In certain cases huge cash deposits were also made but the sources refused to disclose the amount.

These accounts were opened by bank officials allegedly in connivance with private persons which enabled deposits of huge cash and currency conversion without keeping proper records.

"It is observed that 267 dormant accounts have been activated after declaration of demonetisation by the bank officials in connivance with private persons in order to facilitate the deposit of old currency notes," the FIR said.

The bank failed to maintain details of receipt of old currency notes and its exchange with new currency notes, though it was the responsibility of the concerned branch to maintain the teller reports.

The CBI alleged that vault register and other records maintained by cash department of the branch containing details of inward and outward movement of notes was made "casually" and a lot of alterations were made in a number of pages.

"By the acts of commission and omission, the bank officials in connivance with private persons have conspired to defeat the purpose of demonetisation and facilitated exchange of black money and deposit of bank accounts without maintaining proper records," it alleged.