I-T suspects new notes may have been ‘home delivered’ directly from govt presses, launches probe: Report
Income tax and intelligence sleuths have launched an investigation suspecting that an organised racket may have “virtually home delivered” new banknotes from government presses or the central bank to people within days of demonetisation.
According to a Hindustan Times report, the probe was ordered after I-T officials held a man last month from Delhi with Rs 20 lakh in new Rs 2,000 notes that were packed and carried the seals of two government currency presses in Maharashtra and West Bengal.
The man, identified as Krishna Kumar, was probably a courier delivery boy who was waiting at Greater Kailash-I M Block market on December 15 to deliver the money when tax officials arrived, after they were tipped off by the Intelligence Bureau.
The report cited two senior I-T and intelligence officials saying that this was the first instance of cash bearing seals of government printing presses finding its way to the public.
“We need to ascertain where the leak came from. If the printing press or the RBI chest is compromised those loopholes need to be plugged. We are waiting for the RBI to share more information with us,” one of the officials was quoted by Times of India as saying.
Furthermore, the report accessed the RBI’s response to intelligence bureau on the recovered cash which stated that “these mini packs were printed at Salboni and Nasik presses”.
The investigators couldn’t yield much information from Kumar as the currency had changed hands before reaching him. He has been allowed to go for now because officials want to finish the investigation into how cash was “virtually home delivered” from mints.
Meanwhile, the I-T and intelligence officials are investigating the role of cash management companies, which are used to move money from the RBI to banks.
The seized packets of cash bore the official seals of the Currency Note Press in Maharashtra’s Nasik and another RBI printing press in West Bengal’s Salboni – the two presses that printed 52 million pieces of notes a day since Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes on November 8.
The cash, packed into bundles of 1,000 pieces of different denominations, reaches the RBI chest from where they are sent to banks using currency management companies.
These packets are then broken down into bundles of 100s wrapped in individual bank labels before they are given out to customers.