In a surprising development, News18, owned by Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Group, has taken down the story on a cooperative bank with BJP President Shah as its director collecting most banned notes from its website.
News18 was one of the very few media houses to have carried this sensational revelation that surfaced in an RTI reply to a Mumbai-based activist Manoranjan Roy. Its headline had said, “Bank with Amit Shah as director collected most banned notes among DCCBs: RTI”
However, the story mysteriously disappeared from the News18 website. Upon clicking the link, 404 message appears stating, “We’re sorry! The page you were looking for couldn’t be found.” Although the original link to the story published by News18 is still available on Google News.
An RTI reply had sensationally revealed that a cooperative bank in Gujarat with BJP President Amit Shah as a director, had collected the highest volume of old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes that were abruptly demonetised on 8 November, 2016 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
A report by IANS had said that the bank in question secured deposits of Rs 745.59 crore of the demonetised notes — in just five days after PM Modi declared Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes illegal in a shock annlouncement. All the district cooperative banks were banned from accepting deposits of the demonetised currency notes from the public after 14 November, 2016 fearing that black money would be laundered through this route.
Interestingly, according to the website of the Ahmedabad District Cooperative Bank (ADCB), Shah continues to remain its director raising serious conflict of interest given his proximity to the finance ministry as the president of the ruling party. Janta Ka Reporter accessed the website on Thursday and found that Shah was still being described one of the directors of the cooperative bank. (see below).
He was also the bank’s chairman in 2000. ADCB’s total deposits on 31 March, 2017, were Rs 5,050 crore and its net profit for 2016-17 was Rs 14.31 crore.