The Reserve Bank of India on Tuesday directed banks to preserve the CCTV recordings of operations at bank branches and currency chests for the period from 8 November to 30 December.
The government had demonetised high value currency notes of ₹500 and ₹1000 on 8 November, 2016, with an aim to check black money. In the process, the government had asked people to exchange or deposit the old notes with banks. Instead new note of ₹500 and ₹2000 were issued after the withdrawal of the old notes.
On the basis of various inputs, the investigative agencies started probing matters relating to illegal accumulation of new currency notes. In order to facilitate such investigations, the RBI has asked the banks not to destroy the CCTV recordings of the period of demonetisation till further orders. “…keeping in view the investigations pending with law enforcement agencies, proceedings pending at various courts, you are advised to preserve the CCTV recordings of operations at bank branches and currency chests for the period from November 08, 2016 to December 30, 2016 in a proper way, till further orders,” the RBI said in a notification to banks.
The present order is a continuation of an earlier advisory issued to the lenders in December 2016 to preserve the CCTV footage of operations at bank branches and currency chests. Of the ₹15.41 lakh crore worth ₹500 and ₹1,000 notes in circulation on November 8, 2016, when the note ban was announced, notes worth ₹15.31 lakh crore have been returned.
According to a PTI report, the 2016 demonetisation has led to an all-time high generation of over 14 lakh suspicious transaction reports (STRs), a record 1,400 per cent jump over the past, by banks and other financial institutions in the country. STRs are also generated by the banks for those transactions that give rise to a reasonable ground of suspicion that it may involve financing of the activities relating to terrorism. The Financial Intelligence Unit has compiled comprehensive data of such instances, including fake currency deposits, for the year 2017-18. This data was later shared with various investigative agencies like the Income Tax Department, the Enforcement Directorate, the CBI and the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence among others.
The FIU is the central agency under the Union finance ministry that analyses suspicious financial transactions pertaining to money laundering, terror financing and serious instances of tax frauds and crimes.