CBI has booked a Mumbai-based company for transferring nearly Rs 11.92 crore to a Hong Kong-based firm “illegitimately” by evading reporting mechanisms at the Bank of Baroda. The company’s modus operandi to send money in tranches of less than USD 100,000 was also adopted by several entry operators at the bank’s Ashok Vihar branch here in 2015.
In 2015, it was found that over Rs 6,000 crore was transferred to several entities based in Hong Kong and Dubai by entry operators in tranches of less than USD 100,000 to evade detection by automated reporting software deployed at the bank.
Entry operators are agents who launder and route black money using normal banking channels without coming under the scanner of banking regulators.
The new case has been registered by the CBI against Purvi Traders based in Girgaon, Mumbai, its owner Pradeep Rao and others on charges of criminal conspiracy and cheating.
It is alleged that between March 3 and March 26, 2015, the company, having an account at Morland branch of the bank in Mumbai, made 21 outward remittances totalling USD 1.912 million (Rs 11.96 crore) to Hong Kong-based Global Shine Inc Ltd in amounts of less than USD 100,000.
“Since all remittances were of less than USD 100,000, same was not reported to the RBI via BEF statement. While effecting the outward remittance, the base branch or Forex Branch did not obtain credit reports of the beneficiary,” Sunil Kumar Srivastava, Deputy General Manager of the bank told the CBI in his complaint.
The bank started asking Rao and his company to provide evidence of imports and bills of entry but it did not furnish documents required for justification of outward remittances, the bank alleged.
Sensing the fraud, the bank officials visited the company’s registered office and tried to meet Rao who remained elusive, it claimed. Unable to find the owner and having suffered in a similar case in Delhi, the bank started scrutinising the account statements of the company which showed that Purvi Traders was not involved in any genuine business and account balance was “nil”, according to the bank’s complaint.
The bank suspected that the account was being utilised for transferring funds to overseas parties in Hong Kong, it said. It found that 39 companies had allegedly transferred funds to Purvi Traders’ account over a period through different transactions using Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS).
The money was sent to the beneficiaries abroad by Purvi Traders from its accounts, the bank alleged. “Purvi Traders and others caused losses to the government exchequer by illegitimately remitting foreign exchange amounting to USD 1.912 million,” Srivastava has alleged in his complaint which is now part of the CBI FIR.
In the 2015 case, the agency had arrested AGMs S K Garg and Jainish Dubey of the bank’s Ashok Vihar branch who headed the foreign exchange division under various provisions of the IPC and on the charge of corruption.
The CBI had found that an estimated Rs 6,000 crore was transferred through nearly 8,000 transactions carried out between July, 2014 and July, 2015 at the Ashok Vihar branch of the bank.