Politics

Cooperative Bank Linked to Amit Shah Raided on Suspicion of Money Laundering

Rs 500 crore was deposited in the head office of the ADC Bank, in which the BJP president is a director, within three days of the demonetisation announcement.

BJP president Amit Shah. Credit: PTI

BJP president Amit Shah. Credit: PTI

Both the Bharatiya Janata Party and its president, Amit Shah, who had boldly proclaimed in late November that only the “people who stand to lose huge black money can feel the pain” of demonetisation, have in the past month had their names featured alongside those being raided by the Income Tax and Enforcement Directorate officials for suspected tax evasion or diversion of new currency.

Just a few days ago, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in Ahmedabad raided one of the banks in which Shah is a director. An ED official was quoted by PTI as stating that the “ED had conducted searches at ADC [Ahmedabad District Co-operative] Bank’s head office on Ashram Road.”

During the raid conducted on December 19, ED officials had gone to the bank and collected some documents related to their operations, the bank’s CEO Mangilal Bahediya told PTI. The raid had been conducted after the Reserve Bank of India barred the district central cooperative banks from exchanging and depositing old Rs 1000 and Rs 500 notes.

As per the official website of ADC Bank, Shah is one of its directors.

screen-shot-2016-12-24-at-11-00-55-am

a screen shot from the ADC Bank’s website.

The local media also reported that the search conducted at the premises of the district cooperative bank’s branch lasted nearly seven hours. A report stated, “The raid was conducted based on suspicions of discrepancies in exchange and deposit of old Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes following instruction from the head office.”

During the raid, the ED officials checked several documents along with the CCTV footage of the bank.

Another media report stated that Rs 500 crore was deposited in this branch of the bank – which has 190 branches overall – on the night demonetisation was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The RBI had barred the cooperative banks from accepting old currency notes due to the fear that they could become the hotbeds of black money conversion.

In another raid on a cooperative bank office-bearer, the income tax officials raided the residence and hotels of BJP leader and former chairman of Madhya Pradesh Rajya Sahkari Awas Sangh Sushil Vaswani in Bhopal on December 20.

The raids were conducted by the IT officials after they gathered information that the bank in which Vaswani’s wife is a chairperson, had laundered large sums of money following demonetisation.

This, however, is not the first time that the names of BJP functionaries have cropped up in cases of tax evasion or possession of unaccounted currency post demonetisation. Earlier, the media had reported how BJP activists had been arrested in several parts of the country in raids conducted by various agencies.

The Tamil Nadu police arrested J. V. R. Arun – the BJP youth wing secretary from Salem who had campaigned aggressively in favour of the demonetisation drive – with new currency notes worth Rs 20.55 lakh, including 926 notes of Rs 2,000 denomination.

Similarly, in West Bengal, party leader Manish Sharma was arrested on charges of money laundering after currency worth Rs 33 lakh in new Rs 2,000 notes was found in his possession. The state police had also recovered seven firearms and 89 bullets from his car.

In another raid on a BJP leader, cash worth Rs 91.50 lakh in old currency was recovered from the vehicle of Maharashtra cooperation minister Subhash Deshmukh on November 18.

Also, a day after demonetisation was announced, Rs 3 crore in cash was recovered from the car of a BJP leader in Ghaziabad.