Forex scam: CBI conducts fresh searches in Delhi, NCR

New Delhi, March 6 (IANS) The CBI on Sunday carried out searches at 10 locations in Delhi and the National Capital Region (NCR) as part of its investigation into the alleged Rs.6,000 crore Bank of Baroda forex scam.

Agency’s spokesperson Devpreet Singh said the searches were conducted at the official and residential premises of certain people.

“Rs.40 lakh in cash, rubber stamps of about 44 different companies, 15 PAN (permanent account number) cards and various incriminating documents, including pen-drives and hard discs, connected to the case were recovered during searches,” the official said.

In addition, foreign currencies of China, the US, Europe, the UAE, Nigeria, Hong Kong and Sri Lanka were also found, said the official, adding the documents recovered are being scrutinised.

The CBI officials privy to the investigation of the case, say the agency has so far found that around 8,500 foreign remittance transactions were made from 59 bank accounts of various firms against import of goods and software from Hong Kong and Dubai.

“The investigation revealed further involvement of around 11 private persons or entities,” the official said.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on October 9 registered a case under sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Prevention of Corruption Act, dealing with criminal conspiracy and criminal breach of trust, against 59 current account holders along with “unknown” bank officials and private persons on a complaint from Bank of Baroda.

It was alleged that 59 current account holders and “unknown” bank officials conspired to send overseas remittances, mostly to Hong Kong, of foreign exchange worth approximately Rs.6,000 crore in an illegal and irregular manner in violation of the established banking norms under the garb of payments towards imports that were suspected to be non-existent.

Earlier, the CBI had conducted searches at 53 locations, including a Bank of Baroda branch in Delhi’s Ashok Vihar, various companies and other accused persons.

“It was also alleged that the amount remitted in each transaction would be kept at less than USD 100,000. All the remittances were made to Hong Kong,” the official said.

The official said the amount was remitted as advance for import and in most cases the beneficiary was the same.

“Most of the foreign exchange related transactions were carried out in newly opened current accounts wherein heavy cash receipts were observed but the branch did not generate Exceptional Transaction Report (ETR) and did not monitor the high value transactions,” the official said.

Following the case, the CBI on October 13 arrested then assistant general manager and another officer (Foreign Exchange) of the Bank of Baroda’s Ashok Vihar Branch for their alleged involvement in facilitating the foreign exchange remittances by violating the laid down guidelines of Bank of Baroda and thereby facilitating the accused persons in money laundering.

The agency had also filed a charge sheet against the two employees of Bank of Baroda in December 2015.

“Further investigation is continuing with reference to the role of other accused persons, including bank officials as well as alleged 59 account holders and private persons,” the official said.

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