The modus operandi behind the currency exchange scam in Karnataka

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Bengaluru, Dec 9: It was a three step modus operandi followed by the seven persons including officials from Karnataka which was followed while fraudulently exchanging demonetised currency into the newly introduced notes. A case of money laundering was registered by the Enforcement Directorate after Rs 93 lakh in new currency was seized.

Currency exchange scam in Karnataka

A case was registered against S C Jayachandra, a chief project officer of the State Highways Development Project, Karnataka and others after it was found that they were allegedly involved in a currency exchange racket. The accused according to officials of the Enforcement Directorate had organised a systematic network for supplying new currency notes in exchange for demonetised currency.

The modus operandi:

Ongoing investigations being conducted by the ED suggests that the accused persons who had hoarded large sums off demonetised notes were looking to exchange currency by paying a commission of 20 to 35 per cent. The accused persons had sourced new currency notes from across Karnataka since November 9, a day after the decision on demonetisation was made.

The accused persons had identified several persons to withdraw money. The RBI had fished the withdrawal limit at Rs 24,000 per week. These persons would then be contacted by the middlemen who would get the old currency exchanged for the new notes. The persons withdrawing the money would get a commission of 25 per cent. The old notes would then be deposited in the banks.

It was also found that these persons had also been in touch with collection agents of several micro finance institutions. The agents would collect fresh currency notes from self help groups. The old notes would be desposited into the accounts of these self help groups as they enjoyed exemption from the RBI.
The ED says that current accounts too had been misused. The current account holders identified by the accused persons would withdraw Rs 50,000 each week (the maximum limit set by the RBI then). The accused persons would then exchange the old notes with the new ones. The current account holder would then go back to the bank and deposit the old notes, the ED also says.

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