Economy

Amid Black Money Crackdown, 5,800 Shell Companies Under Scanner for Money Laundering

The companies are among the over two lakh struck off from the Register of Companies by the government last month.

A few of the companies have been found to have more than 100 accounts in their names. Credit: Reuters

A few of the companies have been found to have more than 100 accounts each. Credit: Reuters

New Delhi: Amid the government’s crackdown on black money, as many as 5,800 shell companies have come under the scanner for having a miniscule or negative balance on November 8, followed by substantial deposits and withdrawals post demonetisation.

These accounts were left as dormant thereafter.

According to Indian Express, data submitted to the government by 13 banks shows that the companies had 13,140 accounts. Few of the companies had more than 100 accounts each, with one company having 2,134 accounts.

On November 8, when the Modi government announced demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 currency notes, the shell companies in question had a credit balance of Rs 22.05 crore. From the next day till the date the companies were struck off, they “altogether deposited a huge amount of Rs 4,573.87 crore in their accounts,” the government release stated. An equally substantial withdrawal of Rs 4,552 crore was made thereafter, Hindustan Times reported.

There was a negative opening balance of Rs 80.79 crore for loan accounts.

In September, the government had imposed restrictions on operations of accounts of over two lakh ‘struck-off’ companies, which it believes have no active business operations or activities.

“This exercise of swindling the authorities was carried out post demonetisation till the companies were struck off. In some cases, certain companies have gone more adventurous and made deposits and withdrawals even after being struck off,” the statement said.

According to the government, the data on pre-demonetisation accounts and transactions conducted during the period of cash ban is “startling.”

The bank data, however, covers less than 3% of the total number of suspected companies struck off the Register of Companies by the government. According to NDTV, finance ministry officials are of the opinion that further mining of data will unearth thousands of other such suspicious companies.