The Enforcement Directorate (ED) is probing some high-value suspicious transactions across the country, including a case where over a dozen cooperative banks deposited Rs 1,596 crore cash in old notes in Mumbai and 205 new bank accounts opened in Allahabad where cash in scrapped notes was remitted.
The agency has registered over 26 criminal cases under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), arrested 18 people and over 150 inquiries have been launched under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) since November 8, official sources said.
The central probe agency has also detected about 35 Jan Dhan accounts where deposits of more than Rs 10 lakh have been made, after it conducted inquiries at over 50 bank branches country-wide early this month.
ED is also probing some top 80 jewellers at close to 20 locations in the country for transfer of huge funds in their accounts during the same period, the sources said. "After the audit of a private bank branch in Mumbai, the sleuths found that an amount of Rs 1,596 crore was deposited by at least 13 cooperative banks using the old notes within six days time.
A similar bank in Surat deposited Rs 20 crore in scrapped currency in an account with a public sector bank.
"These cases are being probed under PMLA and FEMA laws," they said. In a startling case related to a co-operative bank in Mumbai, the agency is probing "unexplained difference" of Rs 196 crore after the cash books were scrutinised for transactions post November 8. "The agency also detected that dormant bank accounts were used to deposit a good number of old notes in some cities," they said.
"While in a bank in Allahabad, it was found that 205 new accounts were opened and old notes were deposited in them, in a private bank branch in Ranchi 16 such accounts were opened and used," they said.
ED is also probing a clutch of two dozen District Central Cooperative Banks in four states for alleged irregularities in their operations, they added. The agency, till now, has seized cash worth Rs 14.37 crore, foreign currency worth Rs 1.9 crore and at least five kilograms of gold bars as part of these operations in the country, they said.