Anxious banks report 10-fold rise in suspect transactions

HDFC BANK
FILE PHOTO

New Delhi, January 4: After recording overwhelming deposits in the banking sector, followed by the repeated queries and surveys by tax and enforcement authorities, anxious banks have reported ten-fold rise in “suspicious transactions”.

According to ET, a private bank that reported around 275-300 transactions a month, has reported 3,000 Suspicious Transaction Reports (STR) to Financial Intelligence Unit in December. Another large bank reported seven to eight-fold jump in filing STRs for cash deposits of over Rs 1 crore.

A senior bank official of one of the largest banks in the country said that the STR filings have increased due to rising alerts after increased surveillance from tax authorities. “We are being extra cautious. The number of cases that we used to report in a month, we are now doing in a week,” said the official.

After receiving more than expected deposits in the banking sector, the enforcement directorate and the tax department started closely tracking the deposit of old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes particularly in the private banks. ED also arrested 5 bank executives on allegations of illegally helping people park their black money for converting it into white money.

As much as 547 branches of banks have been identified by tax authorities for heightened scrutiny after they observed abnormal banking activity compared to their average daily business earlier.

Citing issues related to non compliant KYC account holders, another bank official said, “If there was a dormant account or one where the volume was very low and suddenly it saw a spurt in the form of large deposits, we decided to play it safe and reported it to FIU. We are not taking any chances.”

After receiving details, Modi government is analysing bank deposit data and tallying it with tax returns so as to nail undisclosed income and money laundering activities.

Wefornews Bureau

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