ADCB Bank with Amit Shah as Director amassed deposits of banned notes post-DeMo: Rajya Sabha

Written by Sabrangindia Staff | Published on: July 31, 2018

Mysterious happenings within the Rajya Sabha. A question posed by SP MP Neeraj Shekhar that pertained to the demonetised currency deposited in the Ahmedbad Development Cooperative Bank (ADCB) Bank, which has BJP chief, Amit Shah, as director, vanished, and was brought back, from the Rajya Sabha’s official website.

 
After National Herald reported on Monday, July 30 that Samajwadi Party MP Neeraj Shekhar’s question related to amount of demonetisation had gone missing from the Rajya Sabha website, the same was uploaded again on the website on Monday evening, along with the reply (see below).



In his query, Shekhar had asked what amount of banned ₹500 and ₹1,000 currency notes had been deposited or exchanged at the Ahmedabad District Cooperative Bank—which has Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief Amit Shah as its director—in the five days post demonetisation, and if the authorities had launched any probe into the alleged "huge deposits".

The answer to the ‘unstarred question’ by the Finance Ministry confirms the information disclosed by Mumbai-based activist Manoranjan S Roy’s RTI application, stating that that ADCB had collected the highest number of demonetised notes among DCCBs in just five days after the note ban was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 8, 2016.

“As per the information provided by NABARD, highest amount of demonetised notes was deposited in the Ahmedabad District Co-operative Bank Ltd to the tune of ₹745.5 crore,” the Finance Ministry’s reply read. Normally replies to the questions are uploaded on the Rajya Sabha website on the same day as they are tabled. However, the reply to this question—'unstarred' question number 668—was not uploaded till Monday and the question had been removed from several sections of the website.

Reacting to the development, Manoranjan S Roy alleged: “The way the question was removed from the website and then the reply had to be uploaded, it indicates that the BJP government has a lot to answer. It only confirms that several BJP leaders including the party president have been direct beneficiaries of the demonetisation that helped them convert black money into white.”

Samajwadi MP Neeraj Shekhar: “I have no idea why did they remove the answer from the (Rajya Sabha) website and at whose behest. I had asked the Rajya Sabha Secretariat to restore the reply and they had assured me that it would get restored”

Son of former Prime Minister Chandra Shekhar, Neeraj Shekhar told the National Herald that he came to know of the disappearance of the question on the website on Sunday and inquired about it with the Question Branch of the Rajya Sabha. “I have no idea why did they remove the answer from the (Rajya Sabha) website and at whose behest. I had asked the Rajya Sabha Secretariat to restore the reply and they had assured me that it would get restored.”

“Other replies to uncomfortable questions should also be uploaded on the website. The information regarding such issues must be there in the public domain. People have every right to know in a democratic country,” added Shekhar.

“Income Tax Department (ITD) has taken suitable action as per law against persons found to be involved in making unaccounted deposits, post-demonetisation, in various banks including, inter alia, cooperative banks,” the reply stated in response to another query, before adding that “during the period November 2016 to March, 2017, ITD conducted searches in 900 groups, involved in various activities and business, leading to seizure of ₹900 crores, including cash seizure of ₹636 crores.”

“The questions were deliberately taken off from the website and then the answers were uploaded after hue and cry was raised over it,” Shekhar said, adding that the Modi government was allegedly trying to avoid making some information public ahead of 2019 elections.

“The ‘unstarred' questions are meant for public consumption as the MPs cannot ask any supplementary questions on that. Though I have already got the reply from the government, but they (officials) did not give any satisfactory answer as to who asked it to be removed from the website. The Question Branch said the replies are uploaded by the respective ministries and they would ask the ministry to upload it,” Shekhar added.

“The questions were deliberately taken off from the website and then the answers were uploaded after hue and cry was raised over it,” Shekhar said, adding that the Modi government was allegedly trying to avoid making some information public ahead of 2019 elections.

However, the officials at the Rajya Sabha Question Branch said it were the respective ministries that upload the questions/replies and the delay in uploading sometimes happen due to "technical reasons". “These days a new system is being adopted where a person can upload the replies through a link. But to open that link, one needs an OTP (one-time password). Sometimes the OTP may be delayed or there could be other technical glitches,” said the official who did not wish to be named.

Another reply by the Finance Ministry to Shekhar’s question regarding the details of black money brought back from foreign countries since 2014 till July 15, 2018, stated that “the year-wise and country-wise details of the black money, as sought for, are not maintained.”

Meanwhile, the reply to another question put up by BJP Rajya Sabha MP from Maharashtra Amar Shankar Sable, bearing registration number 714 has also been uploaded on the website.

Sable had asked state-wise details of amount deposited in cooperative societies, district cooperative banks, urban banks, state cooperative banks after demonetisation till March 31, 2017 (see below).