The Income Tax Department carried out search and seizure operations at the headquarter and one of the branches of an Urban Credit Cooperative Bank located in Maharashtra and restrained Rs 53.72 crore, informed the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) on Saturday.
The search and seizure operation was carried out on October 27.
According to CBDT, the residence of the chairman and one of its directors were also searched.
CBDT said the analysis of bank data on Core Banking Solutions (CBS) and the statements of key persons recorded during the search action have revealed the glaring irregularities in opening the bank accounts.
"More than 1200 new bank accounts were opened in the said branch without PAN. The investigations have revealed that these bank accounts were opened without following KYC norms and all account opening forms are filled in by the bank staff and they have put their signature/thumb impressions," the CBDT statement reads.
It informed that in these accounts, multiple cash deposits each of exact denomination of Rs 1.9 lakh, were made totaling to Rs 53.72 crore.
"Out of these, more than 700 bank accounts have been identified which were opened in series, where cash deposits of more than Rs 34.10 crore were made immediately within 7 days of the opening of bank accounts mainly during the period August 2020 to May 2021," it said.
These deposits have been structured to avoid mandatory PAN requirements for cash deposits over Rs 2 lakh. The money has been subsequently converted into fixed deposits in the same branch.
The local enquiries in a few cases of such account holders have demonstrated that these persons are not aware of cash deposits in the bank and categorically denied any knowledge of such bank accounts or even the fixed deposits, CBDT said.
The Chairman, CMD, and the manager of the branch could not explain the source of cash deposits and accepted that these were done at the behest of one of the directors of the bank, who is a prominent local businessman engaged in the trading of grains.
On the basis of the evidence gathered and statements recorded, CBDT restrained the entire amount of Rs 53.72 crore.
Further investigations are in progress.