Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has registered a caseagainst four officials of Vaidyanath Cooperative BankLtd in Parli, two other persons, a private hospital in Aurangabad, and other bank officials and persons on Friday for “fraudulent means” resorted to by bank officials to exchange old currency and others for unexplained income.
The four officials include the manager and two workers of the bank’s Pimpri-Chinchwad branch, and manager of its Ghatkopar branch.
The bank refuted the charges. “CBI officials conducted inquiries. We gave them required documents. The question of a case does not arise and our officials are not involved in illegal currency exchange,” said bank CEO Maheshchandra Kavthekar.
Managers of both branches told TOI CBI officials recorded their statements and maintained they did no wrong and were unaware of any case.
CBI said the accused allegedly entered into a conspiracy and fraudulently transported approximately Rs 25 crore in demonetised currency from the head office of Vaidyanath Cooperative Urban Bank in Beed to the Ghatkopar branch on November 19 for changing it to legal tenders. It said the bank deposited Rs 15 crore of the Rs 25 crore with Maharashtra State Urban Cooperative Bank (MSUCB).
Srinivas S Joshi, officer-on-special duty and legal adviser to Vaidyanath Coop Bank, said once they got old notes from people after demonetisation, local branches of State Bank of India and State Bank of Hyderabad in Parli refused to take them. “MSUCB in Mumbai gave us the green signal to deposit the old currency, so we deposited it in our account there,” he said.
Police intercepted the bank vehicle on December 15 in Mumbai with Rs 10 crore — Rs 10 lakh in new notes and balance Rs 9.9 crore in old Rs 500 notes. Police informed the income tax department, which passed on the information to CBI.
Joshi said it was a routine transfer from the Mumbai branch to the Pune branch, since the Mumbai branch did not have place to store the old currency. He admitted officials did not inform police that cash was being transported.
An income-tax official told TOI, “CBI will investigate it but they may have found prima facie evidence to register a case.”
Joshi said the Chinchwad resident, doctor and hospital were customers. “Post-demonetization, each deposited more than Rs 1 crore in their accounts. So, they have been called for questioning. If they satisfy the income-tax department’s claims, good; else law will take its course,” Joshi said.
The I-T department is looking for deposits of over Rs 1 crore but an official said they would eventually scrutinize all deposits of over Rs 2.5 lakh after November 8
CBI said, “Searches were conducted on Friday at 11 places, including official and residential premises of the accused in Pune, Mumbai, Aurangabad and Beed.” Bank officials denied any such searches
Meanwhile, CBI also conducted searches at 40 places across Pune on Thursday related to Worldwide Oilfield Machines (WOM) and unearthed “incriminating” documents in a Rs 10.8 crore money exchange case