The Income Tax (IT) department has recently put a check on at least three multistate co-operative credit societies from Maharashtra for alleged money laundering of about Rs 1,390 crore. As per a report by Indian Express, the suspected cash transactions is large-scale tax evasion and money laundering by entities and individuals through various banking channels in a span of about 17 months starting from November 2014 till April 2016. The IT department has put under scanner companies such as Shri Venkatesh Multistate Co-operative Credit Society Ltd from Ahmedabad, Goreshwar Gramin Multistate Co-operative Credit Society Ltd and Mangaldeep Multistate Urban Co-operative Credit Society Ltd. As per the report, these companies are accused of allegedly receiving money through unidentified individuals and entities in their bank accounts.
The report further stated that Mangaldeep and Goreshwar Gramin allegedly reveived Rs 500 and Rs 120 crore undisclosed cash deposits while Shri Ventatesh received Rs 770 crore. These companies are charged of illegal cash deposits through a web of shell companies using Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) system.
Speaking to Indian Express about the same, a source said, “To conceal the identities of cash depositors from regulators and enforcement agencies, the societies deliberately omitted to maintain the basic KYC (know-your-customer) details of the cash depositors.” The source further informed that three societies gave current account membership to cash depositors. These memberships were distinct from the regulator and was used to steer the unaccounted cash.
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Two unaccounted cash deposits of Rs 285 crore and Rs 185 crore were made from proprietor of a hotel and a trader from Mumbai into Shri Venkatesh bank account. However, the IT department found out that the members were not present at the addressed mentioned in the society records. Clarifying the charges made, Abhinath Manikrao Shinde, chairman of Shri Venkatesh Multistate Co-operative Credit Society said in an email interaction, “These transactions took place during November 2014 to December 2015 and society had their business addresses to that relevant period. Since (the) past one and half year, the society had not made any such transactions with them so we do not know their exact present address.”
The three societies have received cash deposits ranging from Rs 1 crore to Rs 5 crore a day, informed sources. These deposits were further split into smaller amount and transferred to the beneficiaries.
Speaking to Indian Express Sharad Kakade, MD of Goreshwar Gramin, said in an email statement: “We have taken all (KYC) documents from the customers… Secondly, I-T department has done this survey… and we have given all the records for checking and auditing. We did not get any negative remark or allegation from I-T department while checking of records…”