Following CBI's arrest of a Reserve Bank of India employee in Bengaluru on Tuesday, it was revealed that the arrested individual Michael Kattukaran was laundering money and receiving 30 percent commission for it.
Kattukaran, a senior special assistant at the RBI's issue department in Bengaluru, and two other persons were arrested by CBI during its wider crackdown on fraudsters after the government's demonetisation move. The arrest was linked to a money-exchange racket with the State Bank of Mysore's Kollegal branch.
"Michael was sent to the currency chest in Kollegal to remit new currency notes after the announcement of demonetisation. He allegedly joined hands with Parashivamurthy and others to convert money benefiting 13 parties for a 30% commission," RBI officers were quoted as saying to Times of India.
When Michael was apprehended, the investigators recovered Rs 17 lakh from him. He and his accomplices, including SBM head cashier Parashivamurthy, are accused of exchanging Rs 1.51 crore worth of demonetised notes for new currency and are allegedly involved in as many as 12 cases of money laundering. The 30 percent commission would peg his bribe at roughly Rs 45,000.
Amid ongoing cash crunch, investigative agencies are conducting nationwide search and seizure operations to unearth unethical links between black money hoarders and banking sector officials.
More than a dozen banking officials have already been arrested by various investigative agencies after demonetisation for their alleged involvement in the conversion of old currency notes.
However, the Bengaluru incident was the first time a RBI official was arrested.
After the note ban, people have been queueing up outside banks and ATMs to collect the new notes of Rs. 2,000 and Rs 500. However, investigative agencies have arrested many black money hoarders and middlemen with bundles of new Rs. 2,000 notes, reflecting a nexus between the bank officials and hoarders.