Two officials of a private bank here were sent to seven days in Enforcement Directorate (ED) custody by a city court for alleged irregularities in the conversion of old currency and supply of new notes leading to blackmoney generation.
District Judge Ravinder Kaur allowed ED’s plea seeking seven-day custody of Shobit Sinha and Vineet Gupta, working as managers in Axis Bank’s Kashmere Gate branch here to interrogate them as it wanted to nab several other persons.
The court, while remanding the bank officials to ED custody till December 12, observed that everyone should cooperate in the on-going drive to eradicate blackmoney.
“This is the situation where everyone should cooperate.
If a drive is going on to eradicate blackmoney, we all should cooperate,” the judge said.
Advocate Vivek Garg, appearing for ED, argued that the two bank officials, in connivance with others, were indulging in illegally changing demonetised currency into new notes.
He said till now the probe revealed that Rs 40 crore worth of currency and several companies were involved in the case. He said one gold brick worth Rs 39 lakh has been recovered from accused Sinha and another one is yet to be recovered.
Garg contended that around 15 persons were involved in the matter and 13 are yet to be arrested and if the custody of the accused is not given to ED, its probe would be hampered.
While 32-year old Sinha was the Branch Manager, 33-year old Gupta was the manager (operations), both of whom have been suspended by the bank. They were arrested yesterday under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
The custody plea was opposed by the counsel for the accused on the ground that their custodial interrogation was not required.
Advocate Sanjay Gupta, who appeared for Vineet Gupta, said ED has thoroughly searched the houses of his client, his parents and in-laws and he was detained in the bank for 36 hours.
He said the alleged beneficiaries and account holders were also examined and let off by ED but the two officials were arrested.
Advocate Asghar Khan, who represented Sinha, opposed the custody plea saying his client was falsely implicated and his custodial interrogation was not required. During the hearing, the court asked ED’s counsel how the gold brick was involved in the case.
To this, ED’s counsel said the two bank officials were taking one per cent commission against the total amount of money deposited. They agreed to accept the commission in the form of gold bar which was worth Rs 39 lakh, he said.