Amidst intense public and government scrutiny across the country as more and more accounts are seized and officials are suspended, an Axis Bank branch in Noida was handed a notice by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) after it was accused under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act or PMLA of illegallytrading new notes for old scrapped notes andalleged forging a customer’s identity to conceal huge illegal transactions for conversion of black funds into white post demonetisation.
N Paswan, a customer of the accused Axis Bank branch in Noida filed a complaint filed with the police claiming that his identity had been forged and two accounts, a current and a savings account which then were used to launder crores of rupees. The ED registered a criminal complaint under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) taking cognisance of the police FIR on a complaint filed by Paswan, a resident of Delhi’s Pitampura area. ED officials stated that while the bank branch, in sector 51 of Noida, is already under the scanner by the Income Tax department owing to previous alleged dubious transactions using shell companies, it registered the case only after it was asked to probe into the proceeds of crime which were generated through use of various fake accounts or accounts which had either fake or unsupported KYC (Know your customer) details.
Axis Bank has already been under the scanner after it emerged that the Income Tax department found 12 fake accounts in a Delhi branch at Krishna Nagar and the ED filed a case under the PMLA, according to this report. Two separate incidents on the same day follow repeated allegations aimed at Axis Bank in instances of corruption and money laundering across the country, following demonetisation. Cases were filed in places very disparate likeaBongaigaon branch in Assam, as this report points out. Axis Bank has meanwhile taken steps, as it said it has fired 24 employees for suspicious activities in its operations and suspended 50 accounts in order to crack down on such untoward incidents.
ED and IT officials added that said the amount under thescanner in this specific case is over Rs 60 crore. Officials added that the agency is probing more than two dozen accounts in the bank here which could have been used to perpetrate the crime of money laundering, in the wake of the scrapping of Rs 1000/500 notes, also known as demonetisation. Searches have been conducted on the premises of four bullion traders in Mumbai in a similar probe. The agency has also sought tofreeze of few bank accounts of these traders as part of its bigger probe.