I-T scrutiny for fake bank accounts continues after Rs100 crore found

In signs of active connivance between bank staff and black money operators, government agencies and the police have unearthed crores of rupees in unaccounted cash – both in old demonetised notes and new currencies – as well as gold in raids across the country.

Income Tax officials on Friday identified at least 44 fake bank accounts, with about Rs100 crore of deposits, during raids conducted at an Axis Bank branch in the national capital. These accounts did not conform to the Know Your Customer (KYC) norms, according to I-T sources.

The Chandni Chowk branch of the Axis Bank in New Delhi, raided by I-T officials is reported to have received a total of Rs450 crore in demonetised Rs500 and Rs1,000  notes since 8 November, the day Prime Minister narendra Modi announced the demonetisation of these high-value currencies.

Axis Bank officials are being grilled in connection with the matter. However, a bank spokesman denied the bank having any role in the creation of fake accounts.

''The bank is committed to following highest standards of corporate governance and has zero tolerance towards any deviation on part of any of its employees from the model code of conduct. Strict action will be taken against any employee found deviating from guidelines; we're cooperating with investigating agencies,'' reports quoted the bank's spokesperson as saying.

Earlier this week, the Enforcement Directorate had arrested two Axis Bank managers and seized 3 kg gold bars in connection with investigations into a money laundering racket that illegally converts old notes in connivance with bank officials.

Rajasthan: In separate raids conducted by the police in Rajasthan, three persons were arrested and old notes worth Rs91 lakh were seized from them. Kotputali police said they seized Rs88 lakh in demonetised Rs500 and Rs1,000 notes from Rajendra Bharadwaj (22), who was to deliver the money to a trader in Chaura Rasta area in Jaipur. He was allegedly hired by a Delhi metal firm owner for the job.

Acting on a tip-off, police teams carried out searches of the buses plying between New Delhi and Jaipur and caught the accused youth who was travelling in a bus near Paniyala with a bag full of cash, said Jaipur (rural) DSP Mahmood Khan.

''We have seized the currency and referred the matter to the Income Tax department for carrying out further investigation,'' he said.

Mumbai: In Mumbai, crime branch police seized Rs85 lakh in new Rs2,000 notes from a person at Matunga, police said. The cash was seized by unit 5 of the crime branch on Friday afternoon, Mumbai Police spokesperson Ashok Dudhe said.

Haryana: In Haryana, reports said police have recovered Rs10 lakh in new Rs2,000 currency notes in Gurgaon and arrested two persons in this connection. The notes were recovered from two persons, who were riding on a two-wheeler, near Islampur village in Gurgaon district.

Tamil Nadu: Income Tax department in Tamil Nadu today reported a fresh seizure of Rs24 crore in new notes, in addition to Friday's haul of Rs105 crore, including Rs10 crore in new notes and Rs35 crore worth of gold - the biggest haul of cash and gold post demonetisation.

With this, the total seizure in the Tamil Nadu case has now gone up to Rs166 crore.