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Demonetisation Fraud: Bank Official's Surrender Plea not Maintainable, Say Cops

New Delhi: Delhi Police on Tuesday told a special court that a plea by a private bank official, arrested by the Enforcement Directorate in connection with a demonetisation fraud, seeking to surrender in a related case was “not maintainable”.

The prosecutor submitted before Special Judge Poonam Chaudhry that 32-year-old Vineet Gupta, suspended branch manager in Axis Bank’s Kashmere Gate branch in New Delhi, was already in judicial custody in the case lodged by ED so the issue of surrendering in the Delhi Police case does not arises at this stage.

“This application seeking to surrender before this court is not maintainable at this stage. No purpose would be served by bringing the accused in this court as neither the FIR is here nor the charge sheet has been filed yet,” prosecutor Balbir Singh argued.

The court after hearing the arguments fixed the matter for consideration and pronouncement of order on January 12.

During the hearing, the counsel for Gupta contended that the nature of case lodged by the police was of alleged corruption and it should be proceeded with in a court having jurisdiction to try the Prevention of Corruption Act matters.

Delhi Police investigating officer, an ACP, also filed a report before the court stating that the role of Gupta is to be investigated in the floating of various shell companies involved in the alleged offence.

ED had lodged a criminal complaint against two bankers and others based on a Delhi Police FIR after three persons were intercepted with Rs 3.7 crore in old currency notes a few days ago in front of the bank’s Kashmere Gate branch.

Gupta in his plea submitted that the court should issue his production warrant for his appearance before it from jail, saying that he wanted to surrender in the cheating case lodged by Delhi Police to show his “bonafide”.

He claimed that he had not committed any offence and has nothing to do with the case lodged by Delhi Police which has also added provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act against him as no case of cheating and criminal conspiracy was made out against him.

“The accused is not a public servant within the purview of the Prevention of Corruption Act,” the application said.

It alleged that he has been made a “scapegoat” by the police for “felicitating the false proceedings of ED”.

Gupta, Rajeev Singh Kushwaha, suspected to be the mastermind behind floating of shell companies, and 33-year-old Shobit Sinha, suspended manager (operations) in the bank, are lodged under judicial custody till January 23 for alleged irregularities related to conversion of old currency and supply of new notes.

ED has claimed the probe has found that Rs 39 crore in cash was in question and several companies were involved in the case. It had said a gold brick worth Rs 39 lakh had been recovered from Sinha while another is yet to be found, which were agreed to be taken as commission.

It had claimed that Kushwaha “used the identity documents of various persons to form shell companies” through which cash deposits of Rs 39 crore were made between November 10 and November 22 in “close connivance” with the two bank managers.

Axis Bank has said in a statement, “The bank is committed to following the highest standards of corporate governance and has zero tolerance towards any deviation on the part of any of its employees from the set model code of conduct. In this particular case, the bank has suspended the erring employee and is cooperating with the investigating agencies.”