Gods Get Richer as Black Money Hopes for Rebirth Through Temple Hundis

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November 11, 2016

New Delhi: When in crisis, fold your hands. Temples and temple trusts are emerging as a new vehicle for those stuck with unaccounted cash to bypass the new demonetization scheme.

Representative image.

November 11, 2016

New Delhi: When in crisis, fold your hands. Temples and temple trusts are emerging as a new vehicle for those stuck with unaccounted cash to bypass the new demonetization scheme.

Representative image.

News18 spoke to a range of players for this story, and predictably, all of them chose to remain anonymous fearing action from enforcement authorities.

One of the most brazen efforts at lending a divine hand to whitewash money was reported from Karnataka where a religious head has spread the word that unaccounted money can be deposited in his mutt’s cash collection box. The sum would later resurface in official documents as donation from an anonymous donor and will be deposited in banks, and will eventually make its way back to the “donor” after a handsome commission to the mutt head.

In some cases black money hoarders are getting rid of their wealth at a steep discount and in some cases the commission is up to 50%.

The temples managed by the private persons are also being used to convert substantial amount of black money into white. The managements offer to return 50%-70% of the money to the "donors" after a few months.

Rural and urban cooperative banks and non-banking financial institutions too are being pressed into service to bring the worthless currency back to life across India.

In one instance that News18 independently verified in Kolar, Karnataka, more than Rs 5 crore was divided into a bundle of Rs 2.5 lakh each – villagers were given individual bundles that were later deposited in cooperative societies.

According to a PTI report, hurried donations made to nearly 100 temples and trusts. Sudden spurt in cash reserves in nearly 1,000 cooperative banks and credit societies were noticed in Maharashtra after Centre's decision to scrap Rs 500 and Rs 1,000.

"The suspicious part of the whole rush for temple donations and opening six deposit accounts is that they were triggered immediately after Prime Minister Narendra Modi made the announcement of demonetizing currency notes of Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 denomination," PTI quoted a senior minister as saying.

The minister, who did not wish to be named, said officials have apprised the state government that there has been a surge in donations to temples immediately after the announcement. "Some people have tried to secure their unaccounted cash by donating it to temples by taking its management into confidence and making receipt of such donations as anonymous donors," he said.

A similar pattern was seen in some cooperative banks that are associated or directly controlled by politicians, he said.

"Some people having unaccounted cash in lakhs of rupees have managed to secure receipts of opening of fixed deposit account. It was possible because these (cooperative) banks operate locally with handful of branches and cater to local banking needs," the minister said.

"In such cases, the unaccounted cash will turn into white money, if people manage to produce all valid documents. We have asked officials from departments concerned to keep a tab on any suspicious transaction, donations or deals," he said.

"In most of these banks, works, including issuing receipts, is done manually. As a result, some people managed to get the date of opening of the FD account, as prior to the PM's announcement. To counter such frauds, government will check the unnatural rise in the cash reserves in these banks. They will be under scanner," the minister added. Such fraudulent transactions have taken place in over 100 temples and trusts in the state, he said, adding, action will be initiated against those guilty of colluding with the fraudsters. The government will also monitor the sudden spurt in cash reserves in the nearly 1,000 cooperative banks and credit societies in Maharashtra. Some temple managements are "close to political parties, making such transactions possible," he alleged.


Courtesy: News18

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