New Delhi, Oct 10 (IANS) The CBI on Saturday registered a case against 59 account holders and unknown bank officials and private people as it conducted raids at a Delhi branch of Bank of Baroda dealing with forex in connection with cash deposits of Rs.6,172 crore which were later "sent to Hong Kong".
The case, filed under various sections related to criminal conspiracy, cheating and corruption, was filed as the probe agency raided the Ashok Vihar branch of the bank.
The raids took place after the Congress on Friday hit out at the Narendra Modi government over the transactions at the branch, saying they were in contravention of rules.
Congress leader Kapil Sibal on Saturday termed the transactions "a huge black money scam" and asked why Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and the Prime Minister's Office "took no action" for over a month since the Bank of Baroda submitted its internal audit report to the government.
The Central Bureau of Investigation said in a statement that searches were conducted along with the Enforcement Directorate at three premises including the Bank of Baroda's Ashok Vihar branch, and residential premises of two bank officials whose roles have reportedly emerged in the case.
"The CBI has registered a case against 59 current account holders and unknown bank officials and private people on a complaint from Bank of Baroda," the statement said.
"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 crores in illegal and irregular manner in violation of established banking norms under the garb of payments towards suspected non-existent imports," the statement added.
It said "incriminating documents" recovered during searches were being scrutinised.
Sibal told reporters that initial investigations show prima facie irregularities and blatant non-compliance of basic due-diligence involving KYC (know your customer) norms.
"What is astounding is that even after the bank's internal audit unravelled the scam and brought it to the notice of the finance ministry, the ministry chose to look away and slept over the entire episode without taking any investigation measures," the former union minister said.
He questioned the silence of the government on this issue.
"Why are the prime minister and the finance minister mum in the matter? Why have they not come forward and made a statement as to who is guilty in this huge black money scam?" he asked.
"Who are these fictitious companies and 59 bank accounts in the Bank of Baroda through which Rs.6,172 crore were siphoned off fraudulently? What connection do they have to BJP?" he asked.
"One wonders if this deliberate delay on part of the central government did not give an opportunity to the perpetrators to get their books in order and manipulate evidence.
"The finance minister is tom-tomming collection of Rs.4,157 crore of black money but they are letting black money worth Rs.6,172 crore transferred to Hong Kong," Sibal said.
Congress spokesperson R.P.N. Singh had on Friday said "black money" amounting to Rs.6,172 crore was sent out of the country to get commodities such as pulses, rice and cashewnuts but it was not enquired if the commodities were received or not.
He said the money was deposited as advance in 59 accounts of the bank and three of the Indian companies were not traceable on the addresses mentioned by them.