Demonetisation:Banker’s extends ED custody

Demonetisation:Banker's extends ED custody
Demonetisation:Banker’s extends ED custody

An official of a private bank was today sent to three-day custody of Enforcement Directorate’s (ED) by a Delhi court, which also remanded another officer to judicial custody for alleged irregularities in conversion of old currency and supply of new notes.

Duty magistrate Shilpi Jain extended the ED custody of 32-year-old Vineet Gupta, now suspended Branch Manager in Axis Bank’s Kashmere Gate branch here, by three days after the agency submitted that he was not cooperating in the probe.

The court sent 33-year-old Shobit Sinha, the manager (operations) in the bank, to judicial custody till December 26 after ED said the probe was at the initial stage and it might take his custody later.

Special Public Prosecutor Vikas Garg, appearing for ED, contended that Gupta was “not cooperating at all” in the probe and recovery and sought his remand for seven more days.

He also said that Sinha and one Mohit Garg have said in their statements to the agency that one gold brick was given to Gupta, who was “frustrating” the proceedings under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) in the case.

The prosecutor argued that the Income Tax Department has seized the CCTV footage of the bank branch and cyber experts were cloning the footage, which would be given in 2-3 days to the ED which would confront Gupta with it, he added.

The custody plea was opposed by the defence counsel on the ground that their custodial interrogation was not needed.

Gupta and Sinha, who were arrested on December 4, were produced before the court on expiry of their seven-day ED custody. Both officials, who have been suspended by the bank, were arrested under the provisions of PMLA.

Besides them, ED has also arrested Rajeev Kumar Kushwaha, alleged to be the mastermind behind floating of shell companies, who is in the agency custody till December 15.

ED had earlier told the court that the two officials, in connivance with others, were indulging in illegally changing demonetised currency into new notes.

( Source – PTI )

Demonetisation:Don’t see any farmers here, AG to SC

Demonetisation:Don't see any farmers here, AG to SC
Demonetisation:Don’t see any farmers here, AG to SC

“I don’t see any farmers here,” was how Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi reacted in the Supreme Court when lawyers from the opposite side were assailing the implementation of the demonetisation policy by alleging that the district cooperative banks have been discriminated.

“I don’t see any farmers here. This is all bogey,” the Attorney General responded before a bench headed by Chief Justice T S Thakur when senior advocate Kapil Sibal and others contended that the government was not allowing deposits of old currency notes of Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 in the district cooperative banks on which farmers are dependent.

“Who is arguing for whom. Nobody is appearing for farmers.

The petitions are by lawyers. They can’t be considered as public interest litigations,” Rohatgi submitted before the bench, also comprising Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud.

However, Sibal, appearing for some of the petitioners, said, “The Attorney General should not make fun of us.”

Rohatgi also said that the advocates have filed the petitions and raising objections on the guidelines that fixed a limit of Rs 24,000 withdrawal a week.

“They are making political arguments. Lawyers have filed petitions under Article 32 of the Constitution. Is it their own case?,” he said and repeated that he did not see any farmer challenging the demonetisation notification.

( Source – PTI )

Demonetisation: SC asks Centre to spell out steps to ease

Demonetisation: SC asks Centre to spell out steps to ease
Demonetisation: SC asks Centre to spell out steps to ease

The Supreme Court today asked the Centre to spell out measures taken to ease the sufferings and inconvenience of people in rural areas, who are mostly dependent on co-operative banks, post-demonetisation.

A bench of Chief Justice T S Thakur and Justice D Y Chandrachud, while hearing a batch of pleas challenging various aspects of demonetisation, said all the parties should sit together and prepare a list of categories of cases which could be referred to high courts and those that could be heard by the apex court.

Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the Centre, said that the government is aware of the situation in co-operative banks which lack proper infrastructure and mechanism as compared to scheduled banks.

“Entire chapter in the additional affidavit filed by the Centre is dedicated to the issue of co-operative banks. It is not that we are not aware of the situation but these (the co-operative banks) lack proper facilities, mechanism and proper infrastructure as compared to scheduled banks,” he said.

He said that the government has deliberately kept co-operative banks out of the drive as these did not have the expertise to detect fake currency.

Rohatgi said, “Several cases are filed each passing day in various high courts on various aspects post demonetisation and it is not possible to deal with cases simultaneously in Kerala, Kolkata, Jaipur and Mumbai… All these matter should be clubbed together and be referred to any one high court or the apex court should hear them.”

Senior advocate P Chidambaram, appearing for co-operative banks, questioned the government’s decision, saying that the rural economy is almost paralysed due to non-inclusion of co- operative banks.

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for one of the petitioners, suggested that they will sit together and file the list of categories by Monday.

The bench then posted the hearing on the matter to December 5.

( Source – PTI )

Demonetisation: Guj HC seeks response from Centre, RBI

Demonetisation: Guj HC seeks response from Centre, RBI
Demonetisation: Guj HC seeks response from Centre, RBI

The Gujarat High Court has sought response from the Centre and RBI on a PIL challenging the legality of demonetisation and exclusion of district cooperative bank account holders from exchanging or withdrawing currency notes.

A division bench of Chief Justice R Subhash Reddy and Justice V M Pancholi sought the response on a PIL moved by farmers’ body Gujarat Khedut Hitrakshak Samiti, and kept the matter for hearing on December 5, together with another PIL on the same issue by Bhavnagar District Cooperative Bank that was heard yesterday by the high court.

The petitioner raised the question on legality of Centre’s decision to demonetise Rs 500 and Rs 1000 currency notes, saying it cannot be carried out merely on the basis of a gazette but an Act is required to be passed through Parliament.

Citing the example of demonetisation carried out in 1978, the petitioner said the then Morarji Desai government had issued an ordinance and passed an Act in Parliament to make currency notes of Rs 1000, Rs 5000 and Rs 10,000 illegal.

“According to section 26 (2) of the RBI Act, only a certain series of currency notes of particular denominations can be demonetised, and not entire currency notes,” the petitioner said, adding that the government’s order is illegal and unconstitutional.

The petition also challenged the limitation imposed on bank account holders from limitation on withdrawals, saying that the Centre has no right to pass such an order.

It further said that DCCBs are on par with nationalised or private banks as all these banks registered with the RBI are guided by the same Act.

“All the banks have been registered under the same section of the RBI Act and hence, RBI cannot discriminate among them.

Rights taken away from the DCCBs to allow their account holders from withdrawing or exchanging currency notes are illegal,” the petitioner said.

( Source – PTI )

Order tmw on plea agst withdrawal limit for weddings

Order tmw on plea agst withdrawal limit for weddings
Order tmw on plea agst withdrawal limit for weddings

Delhi High Court today reserved its order for tomorrow on a plea seeking relaxation of the Rs 2.5 lakh withdrawal limit for marriages after demonetisation.

The plea, which has also sought that old currency notes of Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 should be accepted for paying court fees, came up for hearing before a bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal.

During the hearing, the counsel appearing for petitioner said that cap of Rs 2.5 lakh withdrawal for marriages should be relaxed as there were various “customary donations” which one gives during the wedding ceremony.

Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Sanjay Jain, who appeared for the Centre, told the bench that government has already given relaxation and if certain conditions are not there in place, anyone can misuse it.

“We cannot have an unmeasured and uncanalised situation.

We have given exemptions. For wedding, if we will not put conditions, anybody can get a marriage card printed and go to the bank to withdraw Rs 2.5 lakh,” the ASG said.

Regarding the issue of payment of court fees, the bench asked Jain, “We understand that they are accepting it (old currency) for court fees?”

Responding to this, the ASG said that old currency of Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 was accepted as court fees and government has given various relaxation on issues concerning common people.

He, however, added that Rs 100 and the new note of Rs 500 are in the market and could also be used for paying court fees.

At the fag end of the hearing, the counsel for the petitioner told the bench that some kind of liberty should be given to the parents of the bride and groom to withdraw money as per their requirements and the Rs 2.5 lakh cap should be relaxed.

“We will pass order tomorrow,” the bench said.

The High Court is hearing a batch of petitions against Centre’s demonetisation move announced on November 8.

The Supreme Court is also hearing Centre’s plea seeking transfer of all petitions pending before various courts across the country to either the apex court or one high court. The hearing is scheduled to take place on December 2.

Last week, the high court had also made it clear that it will not go into the correctness of demonetisation policy as the apex court is already seized of it, on a plea against the weekly withdrawal cap of Rs 24,000.

( Source – PTI )

Demonetisation: Law enforcing agencies unaffected

Demonetisation: Law enforcing agencies unaffected
Demonetisation: Law enforcing agencies unaffected

Demonetisation will have no impact on investigating agencies which possess a huge cache of old Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 notes, seized over the years as case property, with their officials saying the cash was “government accounted money” and could be deposited in respective bank accounts till December 30.

While the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and Delhi Police said they would have no problem in depositing the cash in the banks, the CBI preferred to reserve its comments by maintaining that the issue was “under examination”.

Agencies like CBI and ED deal with huge cash amounts which are recovered or seized during raids and investigation of their cases. Both the agencies deal with high-stake financial frauds and ED is a specialised agency handling money laundering matters as well.

ED and Delhi Police said the confiscated cash lying with them would be deposited in their designated bank accounts by December 30, the deadline fixed by government, to deposit old currency notes.

On being asked about the impact of demonetisation on cash recovered by them during probe, Delhi Police’s Joint Commissioner of Police (South-Western Range) Dipendra Pathak said the cash stored in the ‘malkhana’ (warehouse) would be deposited in the banks and it can be done till December 30 as the money is “government accounted”.

He, however, said that though all the money is accounted for, it is difficult to tell the number of high denomination currency notes of Rs 1,000 and Rs 500.

He said police officials have been instructed to move concerned courts and seek direction on how to go ahead with each case where the case property involves cash.

Similarly, a senior ED official said the move has “not affected” the agency as according to procedure, the seized money is either deposited in the designated bank accounts or converted into fixed deposit receipts (FDRs).

When asked about the steps being taken by CBI to deal with the issue of demonetisation as the agency stores the currency notes seized during raids, an official said the matter was “under examination and we are not going to make any comment on it”.

( Source – PTI )

PIL filed in Madras HC seeking to declare demonetisation notification

PIL filed in Madras HC seeking to declare demonetisation notification
PIL filed in Madras HC seeking to declare demonetisation notification

The Madras High Court today posted a PIL, seeking a direction to the Union Government to declare as illegal the notification issued on demonetisation, for further hearing to December 15.

When the PIL filed by Suchitra Vijayan, a Barrister-at-Law, came up, the first bench, comprising Chief Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice R.Mahadevan, said counsel for the Union Government had pointed out that the challenge to the notification in question has already been rejected by a division bench of the court’s Madurai bench.

The petitioner then sought to make submissions that the matter was not argued well on the broader issues and she sought to raise some additional issues.

“In so far as the first aspect is concerned, that has outrightly to be rejected. In so far as the second aspect is concerned, whether we can examine it or not would depend on whether firstly the petitioner is able to put forth in the petition as to what were the challenges raised in the earlier petition, how it has been dealt with and what are the additional aspects she seeks to urge,” the bench added.

According to the PIL, government has failed to assess the effects of demonetisation diligently and failed to prepare the country for one the biggest policy implementations in its banking history. The demonetisation of the entire denomination of Rs 500 and 1000 notes was outside the scope of section 26 of the RBI Act, it contended.

( Source – PTI )

Demonetisation: Agencies to ensure no harassment, says court

Demonetisation: Agencies to ensure no harassment, says court
Demonetisation: Agencies to ensure no harassment, says court

The implementing agencies should ensure that even the “smallest person” of the country does not face any harassment due to demonetisation move, a Delhi court has observed while taking strong exception to SBI’s refusal to accept old currency notes from a litigant for depositing cost.

The court observed that government’s move to demonetise Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 notes is a policy decision and whenever such a step impacting each individual is taken, there might be situations where some aspects get “overlooked”.

“It then becomes the duty of the implementation agencies to ensure that even the smallest person of this country is not inconvenienced or harassed. Whenever the banker is faced with a situation where the question in his view relates to Right to Life/Survival vis-a-vis convenience, it is the former which takes precedence and he needs to exercise his discretion as such,” Additional District Judge Kamini Lau said.

The observation came after the court was informed by a lady litigant, a senior citizen, that the bank has refused to accept the old currency notes which she was depositing after a cost of Rs 5,000 was imposed on her by the judge.

The litigant was directed by the court to deposit the cost in the account of Delhi Legal Services Authority (DLSA).

While taking the bank official to task for refusing to accept the old currency notes, the court wondered as to why the bank had not accepted it when municipal authorities were accepting taxes and penalties in old currency of Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 denominations.

“Where was the need for the banker to have refused such a deposit to be made in the account of an instrumentality of the state pursuant to an order passed by the court prior to the decision taken by the government? Such a hyper-technical approach adopted by the banker could have been avoided.

“The costs and fines so imposed by the courts particularly those imposed prior to the decision of the government, could have been conveniently put in the category of ‘penalty’ and in case of any confusion, a clarification sought from RBI after accepting the said amount along with the court order would have sufficed,” the court said.

“In any case, no prejudice is likely to be caused since the amount sought to be deposited is going to the state under the head of an account of DLSA,” it said.

The court’s order came in a civil suit where Rs 5,000 cost was imposed on a woman prior to the government’s decision of demonetisation but she had not deposited it.

( Source – PTI )

Demonetisation to eradicate black money, to benefit all: Govt to SC

Demonetisation to eradicate black money, to benefit all: Govt to SC
Demonetisation to eradicate black money, to benefit all: Govt to SC

The Modi government today asserted in the Supreme Court that the “bold move” of demonetisation would eradicate black money and slush funds operating since Independence which cast a “parallel economy” hitting the poor and the middle class.

The Centre, which filed an affidavit on demonetisation, said the decision on which a total secrecy was maintained, would now help in proper implementation of the ambitious ‘Jan Dhan Yojana’ under which around 22 crore bank accounts for poor people have been opened as reports of unscrupulous elements using these accounts to convert their black money into white surfaced.

Further, demonetisation is seen as a check on the real estate sector where prices get pushed up artificially, reducing the availability of affordable housing for the poor and the middle class.

Elaborating on several measures including the “thrust” given for increasing digital payments in the economy through credit and debit cards, internet banking, mobile apps and e-wallets, the Centre said their use has seen a jump of nearly 300 per cent in the last 10 days.

In its affidavit, the Centre also gave reasons for maintaining secrecy about the move which was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi just after 8 PM on November 8 and came into force from the midnight.

“The gigantic dimensions and possibilities of compromising on secrecy were taken into consideration. If elaborate prior arrangement for distribution of new currency notes were made prior to the announcement of the scheme, the very objective of the scheme would have been defeated.

Further, the scheme impacts several sectors in the short-term but promises large benefits in the economy in the medium-term,” the affidavit said.

The affidavit, filed a day before a crucial hearing, contended that “no serious attempt at this scale has been attempted in the past” and in the “two attempts made in 1946 and 1978, the scale of operation was not as expansive due to the sheer size of the cash component in the economy”.

( Source – PTI )

Demonetisation: Delhi HC declines immediate relief

Demonetisation: Delhi HC declines immediate relief
Demonetisation: Delhi HC declines immediate relief

The Delhi High Court today refused to pass any interim order on a PIL seeking a direction to the Centre to remove the cap on daily withdrawal of money deposited by the public in banks before demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes.

A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice V K Rao declined immediate relief to the petitioner, a businessman, on the ground that the Supreme Court is seized of the issue.

It further said that it was not aware of the proceedings before the apex court and, therefore, the petitioner should produce the copy of the order by November 25.

“Let it (the order as well as the matter) come up on Friday (November 25). Then we will decide what to do and what not to do,” the bench said.

The bench’s oral observations were made during a brief hearing of a plea by Ashok Sharma, who, through his counsel A Maitri, urged the court for an interim relief on the ground that the Centre’s decision to put a cap on weekly withdrawal of Rs 24,000 is “affecting right to livelihood” of the people at large.

The counsel also told the judges that as the apex court has declined to withhold the petitions against demonetisation in different high courts, this court should give some interim order as the government may tomorrow again come out with new directives on withdrawal.

To this, the bench responded since it is not aware of the proceedings in the Supreme Court, it will wait for the copy of order.

The petitioner, a resident of Delhi, has urged the court to quash clause 2 (VI) of the notification by which conditions were imposed on withdrawal of money from bank accounts.

“A reading of the notification shows that Clause 2 (vi) was intended for cash deposits, which were to be tendered between November 9 and December 30. This clause as well as the notification has no connection with the bank deposits, which were made prior to November 8,” the plea said.

“On account of the notification, there is no normal banking transaction available, so the petitioner has been unable to carry out his business and Clause 2 (vi) of the notification has affected his right to livelihood,” Sharma s lawyer submitted.

( Source – PTI )