BJP President Amit Shah has been facing the heat of his political opponent particularly the Congress after news agency IANS sensationally reported that a cooperative bank with BJP President Amit Shah had collected the most demonetised notes among district cooperative banks.
The IANS report was based on an RTI reply obtained by activist Manoranjan S Roy. Janta Ka Reporter was one of the first websites to carry the news by attributing the information to IANS. Among other media houses who also carried the news were Moneylife website, Reliance-owned News18 and Firspost, New Indian Express, Business Standard and Economic Times.
Realising the potential pitfalls, Firstpost, News18 and New Indian Express, whose editorial is Prabhu Chawla, soon removed the story from theri websites, while Economic Times deleted every single reference to Shah from the report.
As expected, the Congress launched a tirade against the BJP and held an emergency press conference on Friday, when the party also alleged that as many as 11 banks linked to Shah and BJP had collected more than Rs 3,000 crore in the immediate aftermath of the demonetisation.
The revelation also dominated the conversations on Twitter, where the Congress party trended hashtag #ShahZyadaKhaGaya targeting the BJP president. On Facebook too, users have been posting scathing comments against Shah with many wondering if this could adversely impact his political career. Jose Josun wrote, “I’m no fortune teller, but i predict this will be the next bird flying out of the country soon, like the Modi renegades.” User K Tumpendra Modi wrote, “750 cr in 5 days. Even if the bank was opened for 12hrs for 5 days, it took 12.5cr/ hr on an average. That means even if each customer was allowed to deposit ₹1 lakh, the bank dealt with 1250 customer/ hr on an average. Wow!! Can happens only in Amit Shah banks!!” Jacob George commented, “Indeed, Demonetization was a master stroke for the BJP… but, Sad 1.3 billion citizens of the country suffered for it.”
On Twitter, Supreme Court lawyer Sanjay Hegde wrote, “Manmohan Singh was right on organised loot and legalised plunder.” Activist Teesta Setalvad commented, “Who benefitted frm Notebandhi?Not the daily wage earner,Not d small textile unit manufctrer,not d banarasi saree weaver or dealer. Who spends d most during elections post Notbandi? Which party? Buys MLAs, workers? Who now censors d Media to Pull down stories?”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced the note ban on 8 November 2016 banning Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes. 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 had 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.