New Delhi, June 22 (IANS) The Congress on Friday sought “an independent probe” into RTI revelations that Ahmedabad District Cooperative Bank (ADCB) linked to BJP President Amit Shah got deposists of Rs 745.59 crore in five days after demonetisation, while terming the currency-scrapping move the “biggest scam in Independent India to convert black money into white”.
The party also demanded that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP chief must come clean on the alleged scam and said the BJP and the RSS should “publicly disclose the properties and their value purchased in the run up to and post-demonetisation, including source of funds.”
The BJP, meanwhile, put up a vigorous defence, with Union Finance Minister Piyush Goyal saying in a tweet that “the allegations shows Congress’s desperation to deflect public attention from its own misdemeanours.”
The National Bank for Agriculture & Rural Development (NABARD) attributed the highest deposits at ADCB to the latter’s massive size and performance, saying it conducted 100 per cent verification which revealed that the bank had complied with all the KYC guidelines of the RBI while accepting the demonetised notes.
IANS had done a story on Thursday based on a RTI reply which said that a bank with Amit Shah as a director collected the highest amount of banned notes among DCCBs (District Central Cooperative Banks).
Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surejwala said at a press conference that ADCB secured deposits of Rs 745.59 crore of the spiked notes — in just five days (November 10, 2016 to November 14, 2016) after Modi made the demonetisation announcement.
All the district cooperative banks were banned from accepting deposits of banned currency notes after November 14, 2016 — five days after demonetisation — on fears that black money would be laundered through this route.
Surjewala however said that states ruled by the BJP and its allies and supporters “got the largest proportion of deposits in the district cooperative banks”, at Rs 14,293.71 crore out of Rs 22,270.80 crore or 64.18 per cent compared to non-BJP ruled states, and said “an independent probe, targetted and time-bound probe” into the RTI revelations, including those pertaining to 11 Gujarat-based cooperative banks was needed.
Congress President Rahul Gandhi also attacked Shah on the issue.
“Congratulations Amit Shahji, Director, Ahmedabad Dist. Cooperative Bank, on your bank winning first prize in the conversion of old notes to new race. Rs 750 crore in five days! Millions of Indians whose lives were destroyed by demonetisation, salute your achievement. #ShahZyadaKhaGaya.”
Surjewala said: “Nineteen months post ‘Modi made disaster’ of demonetisation, it is now officially clear that this entire exercise was the biggest scam in independent India, indulged to convert its ill-gotten ‘black money’ into ‘white’.”
Both Modi and Shah need to come clean on the fact that in 11 district co-operative banks in Gujarat headed by BJP leaders, old notes worth Rs 3,118.51 crore were deposited within the five days during which it was allowed, he said.
Surjewala said that the ADCB was the only district co-operative bank out of 370 across the country to receive such a large sum of demonetised notes in 5 days, adding its chairman Ajay Patel is a prominent BJP leader and a close associate of Amit Shah.
“Shah’s close associate Yashpal Chudasama, whose name appears in the infamous ‘Jay Shah-Zada’ case is also a director of the ADCB. Rajkot District Cooperative Bank also received old notes worth a whopping Rs 693.19 crore.
“Its chairman Jayeshbhai Vitthalbhai Radadiya is a Cabinet Minister in BJP’s Gujarat government. Another director is Vitthalbhai Radadiya, father of Jayeshbhai. He is prominent BJP leader and an Ex-MP from Porbandar,” he added.
Saying the RTI reply also reveals the important national picture “which further establishes that the entire exercise of demonetisation was meant to benefit a select group of BJP cronies”, he alleged that in the run-up to the decision, the BJP and the RSS purchased properties running into hundreds of crores across the country.