Questions over DeMo, Amit Shah bank go missing from Rajya Sabha website

Questions on demonetisation, including a query if ₹750 crores of demonetised notes were deposited in a cooperative bank which has Amit Shah as its director, have gone missing from Rajya Sabha website

IANS photo
IANS photo

Ashutosh Sharma

UPDATE: Hours after National Herald story was published, both questions reappeared on Rajya Sabha website along with answers. Detailed report coming up tomorrow, July 31

Several questions asked by Members of Parliament—including a BJP MP—regarding the Narendra Modi government’s demonetisation decision, including a query if the recent RTI revelation that demonetised notes of ₹500 and ₹1,000 denomination to the tune of ₹745 crore were deposited in Ahmedabad District Cooperative Bank (ADCB)—which has BJP president Amit Shah as its director—within just five days of the government’s decision to withdraw these notes, have dramatically gone missing from the Rajya Sabha website.

The ADCB, according to recent RTI replies, exchanged currency worth ₹745.59 crore within five days of Prime Minister Narendra Modi announcing demonetisation in November 2016. BJP president Amit Shah, a past Chairman of the bank, continues to serve as a director at ADCB.

While unstarred questions bearing number 668 and 714, both asked on July 24, 2018 can’t be located on the Rajya Sabha website, a brief query by the MPs can be found in the question section of their profiles. But a click on the questions directs to blank pages.

This was pointed via a series of tweets by Maadhyam, a platform to enable stakeholder engagement with policy making.

The joint question bearing number 668 put up by Samajwadi MPs Neeraj Shekhar and Ravi Prakash Verma had sought details of Public Sector Banks and District Cooperative Banks where highest amount of demonetised currency notes were deposited along with the amount deposited bank-wise.

“Whether as per the RTI information demonetised notes of ₹500 and ₹1000 have been deposited to the tune of ₹750 crores in only five days after demonetisation in Ahmedabad District Cooperative Bank. If so then the details thereof,” the question read.

It further sought information about the alleged deposits in case the government inquired into the matter and if not then the reasons for “protecting the corrupts and black money hoarders”.

Similarly, another question put up by BJP Rajya Sabha MP from Maharashtra Amar Shankar Sable, bearing registration number 714, asked state-wise details of amount deposited in cooperative societies, district cooperative banks, urban banks, state cooperative banks after demonetisation till March 31, 2017. Seeking details, it also asked whether these societies and banks in all states and union territories were allowed to change demonetised currency.

Notably, these queries were earlier published in the ‘question list’ for July 24, implying that they made it through the ballot and were found admissible for answering.

Neeraj Shekhar told National Herald that he had received a written reply from the government but did not know as to why it had been removed from the website. “I have brought it into the notice of the Rajya Sabha secretary and requested that the reply be uploaded on the website.”

Incidentally, the question raised by Shekhar over “black money brought from foreign countries” has also been put in “unstarred” category on the website.

This article was updated at 8.27 pm on July 30, 2018, to update that hours after this National Herald story was published, both questions reappeared on Rajya Sabha website along with answers. Detailed report coming up tomorrow, July 31

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Published: 30 Jul 2018, 2:58 PM