NEW DELHI: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has filed a prosecution complaint (chargesheet) against Surat-based financier Jignesh Kishore Bhajiawala under charges of money-laundering for illegally converting scrapped currency notes into new ones post demonetisation.
The chargesheet was filed on Thursday before the court of Principal and Sessions Judge, Ahmedabad (Rural) under section 45 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002.
Earlier, the CBI, Gandhinagar had filed an FIR against Bhajiawala based on the report of Income Tax (Investigation), Surat, wherein it was alleged that the Bhajiawala family had amassed new high denomination currency notes through impersonation, forgery and criminal conspiracy.
Accordingly, an investigation under the provisions of PMLA, 2002 was initiated against Kishore Bhajiawala, his sons—Jignesh Bhajiawala and Vilas Bhajiawala—and others by the Enforcement Directorate.
“Investigations have revealed that Shri Jignesh Kishorebhai Bhajiawala converted a huge amount of his unaccounted money, post demonetisation scheme (announced on 08.11.2016) into new high denomination currency through collusion with bank officials of private and public sector banks and private persons by impersonation and by using forged documents,” the ED said in a statement. Bhajiawala, in collusion with Pankaj Bhatt, the then senior manager at the Udhna branch of Peoples Co-Operative Bank Ltd in Surat, managed to procure 1109 identity proof documents from the bank’s records.
Using the same, the accused filed thousands of Annexure 5 forms (Exchange forms prescribed by the RBI for the exchange of old notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1000) and these were then used by him to exchange his old currency notes in collusion with Bank officials.
Bhajiawala was arrested by the ED on January 19 and is presently under judicial custody. Proceeds of the crime—new high denomination currency amounting to over Rs one crore—which was earlier seized by the Income tax, were provisionally attached on February 21.