Leaders of Top Parties at Helm of Co-op Banks That Swapped Highest Amount of Banned Notes

BJP chief Amit Shah is a director of the Ahmedabad bank which exchanged the maximum notes.

New Delhi: Data accessed through Right to Information has revealed that leaders of country’s top political parties – BJP, Congress, Nationalist Congress Party and Shiv Sena – head the ten banks that exchanged the maximum amount of banned currency during demonetisation, Indian Express reported.

These ten district central co-operative banks (DCCBs) in question have been ranked according to the value of banned notes exchanged. Four among them are based in Gujarat, four in Maharashtra, one in Himachal Pradesh and one in Karnataka.

Soon after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a ban on high-value Rs 500 and Rs 1000 currency notes on November 8, 2016, 370 DCCBs in the country exchanged old notes totaling Rs 22,270 crore, RTI records show. The data from the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD), accessed by the English daily, further reveals that nearly 19% of the currency exchanged by DCCBs – Rs 4,191.39 crore – between November 10 and December 31, 2016, was by these ten banks – with BJP chief Amit Shah as a director of the Ahmedabad bank which is at the top of the list.

The Wire had previously reported that the Ahmedabad District Co-operative Bank (ADCB) exchanged banned currency worth Rs 745.59 crore – just five days after Modi made the demonetisation announcement.

Right behind ADCB, is the Rajkot District Cooperative Bank, whose chairman Jayeshbhai Vitthalbhai Radadiya is a part of the Gujarat government. The Rajkot bank got deposits of old currencies worth Rs 693.19 crore.

Incidentally, the figures of Ahmedabad-Rajkot DCCBs are much higher than the apex Gujarat State Cooperative Bank Ltd, which got deposits of a mere Rs 1.11 crore.

Headed by former NCP MLA Ramesh Thorat, Pune District Central Co-operative Bank, with deposits totaling Rs 551.62 crore, is at third place. Congress leader Archana Gare is vice-chairperson of the bank, according to the Indian Express report, and NCP chief Sharad Pawar’s nephew Ajit Pawar is among its directors.

Data from NABARD further shows that several of the DCCBs that were on top in their respective states are controlled by politicians, mainly belonging to parties that are in power.

Nearly two years since the note ban was first announced, it was recently assessed that the Modi government’s mammoth policy change had a marginal-to-low impact on extinguishing black money, curbing fake notes, reducing currency in circulation and lowering the proportion of high notes in the economy.

(With agency inputs)

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