New Delhi, December 14: On December 13, in a circular signed by RBI's Chief General Manager, P Vijaya Kumar, the apex body has written that banks are "advised to preserve CCTV recordings of operations at bank branches and currency chests for the period from November 8 to December 30, 2016, until further instructions, to facilitate coordinated and effective action by the enforcement agencies in dealing with matters relating to illegal accumulation of new currency notes."
The RBI has asked banks to preserve CCTV recordings of operations at bank branches and currency chests to help law enforcement agencies in identifying people engaged in hoarding of new notes post demonetization. This circular essentially means that banks cannot wipe out footage of the front lobby areas where customers transact business. Nor can they delete footage of backroom areas where currency is stored in vaults. In effect no one can get away, neither fraudulent customers nor complicit bank staff.
The RBI took the step after the tax department and investigating agencies found several bank officials across the country indulging in malpractices. “This is to facilitate coordinated and effective action by enforcement agencies in dealing with matters related to illegal accumulation of new currency notes,” it said. The RBI deputy governor urged the public to use their paper currency instead of hoarding it.
Banks had been instructed as early as October to install CCTV cameras at banking halls as well as counters, and preserve recordings so that people indulging in illegal activities could be identified.
Addressing a press meet, RBI deputy governor S.S Mundra said while banks have injected Rs 4.61 lakh crore into the system, they collected old currency notes amounting to Rs 12.44 lakh crore till December 10. As many as 21.8 billion currency notes of various denominations have been issued, of which 20.1 billion pieces were of Rs 10, Rs 20, Rs 50 and Rs 100 denominations. Around 1.7 billion of the notes issued were of Rs 500 and Rs 2,000 denominations, he added.
The Income-Tax Department is carrying out raids across the country on a regular basis since demonetization to nab new currency hoarders and several people, both individuals as well as bank officials, have been booked so far for carrying out such illegal activities.
The government has said abolishment of these high denomination banknotes is intended to bring back unaccounted money into the system, curb fake currency circulation as well as to deter terror financing.