The National Bank for Agiculture & Rural Development (NABARD) had said in a statement on Friday, June 22 that demonetised ₹500 and ₹1,000 notes presented to district cooperative central banks (DCCBs) in Maharashtra were higher than those deposited in Gujarat, followed by Kerala. This statement, in essence, may be misleading.
According to RTI information secured by Mumbai activist Manoranjan S Roy, Maharashtra's 30 DCCBs (out of total 370) secured deposits of ₹3,985 crore worth of banned notes averaging to ₹132.83 crore per bank.
But, neighbouring Gujarat's 18 DCCBs were way ahead in average terms in securing deposits of old notes worth ₹3,640 crore—or an average of ₹202 crore per DCCB.
What is important is the average amount garnered by each DCCB, not the total amount in the state. In average terms, Gujarat tops the list followed by Kerala, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, as per the RTI documents released earlier by NABARD.
On Thursday, June 21, IANS had released a story, based on RTI replies to Roy, on how the Ahmedabad District Cooperative Bank (ADCB)—which has BJP President Amit Shah as one of its directors—collected the highest amount of ₹745.59 crore among DCCBs in the country.
This amount was collected within five days after the prime minister announced demonetisation of ₹500 and ₹1,000 currency notes on November 8, 2016. The DCCBs were banned from depositing or changing old notes after the initial five-day window on fears that black money may be laundered through this route.
On Friday, June 22, the NABARD had defended ADCB saying that only 9.37% or 1.6 lakh customers of the bank had deposited the total amount and the average deposit amounted to ₹46,795 crore.
Roy and others have expressed surprise at why NABARD was acting as "a spokesperson" for the Ahmedabad DCCB. "At this rate, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) may be compelled to justify objectionable goings-on in big banks like Punjab National Bank or ICICI Bank. This is not a healthy trend for the country," Roy said.
The RTI replies to queries by Roy were send by NABARD.
Intriguingly, while the DCCBs raked in huge amounts of cash, in sharp contrast a majority of the 32 apex state cooperative banks have come across as their poor cousins for the meager deposits of old notes they collected.
The Maharashtra SCB got ₹1,128.44 crore, Tamil Nadu ₹382 crore, Delhi ₹375.28 crore, Karnataka ₹371.22 crore, Goa ₹344.62 crore, Kerala ₹349.63 crore, Meghalaya ₹335.15 crore, Assam ₹301.47 crore and the apex Gujarat SCB ₹110.85 crore (earlier wrongly mentioned as ₹1.10 crore), according to the NABARD figures.
RTI activist Manoranjan Roy and others have expressed surprise at why NABARD was acting as “a spokesperson” for the Ahmedabad DCCB. “At this rate, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) may be compelled to justify objectionable goings-on in big banks like Punjab National Bank or ICICI Bank. This is not a healthy trend for the country”
On Saturday, the Congress accused Finance Minister Piyush Goyal of "forcing" NABARD to issue the statement on Friday, which the party alleged was "intended to hide the demonetisation scam perpetrated by the BJP chief". The party demanded a thorough probe.
On Saturday, BJP ally Shiv Sena came down heavily on the government and sought a probe into how the DCCBs in Gujarat could managed to secure huge deposits within five days after demonetisation.
"How many bank chairmen who gave fraudulent loans have been sent to jail?" it asked adding "how could so much money be deposited in just one (ADCB) bank? This is a serious issue and must be probed in depth," the Sena said in editorial comments in the party mouthpieces Saamana and Dopahar ka Saamana.
With inputs by NH Web Desk.