A large amount of cash has suddenly started flowing into previously inactive Jan Dhan accounts following the demonetisation of Rs.500 and Rs.1,000 notes.
Accounts dead since two years are flush with funds overnight. Many such accounts, which had only Re.1 or Rs.2 till November 8, now have cash up to Rs.49,000-the maximum deposit possible without a PAN card.
Bank officials said that many of these account holders were possibly being exploited by middlemen or the rich to lend their accounts to park cash. According to bankers, around 7 lakh accounts had been opened in Agra under the Centre's flagship scheme, but 1.4 lakh of these were closed after no transactions were carried out through them. Thereafter, a large number of accounts which faced imminent closure were saved after bank employees themselves deposited Re.1 or 2 into them from their own pockets to keep them active.
Ajay Agnihotri, manager of SBI's Fatehabad Road branch, said, “There are around 15,000 Jan Dhan accounts in our branch. 30% of account holders have deposited amounts up to Rs.49,000 since Thursday.“
Another bank official said, “Gullible persons or those working on contracts in factories are being used by their employers and middlemen for this purpose. They are being told to deposit the money for a fixed commission.“
One of the victims, who had deposited Rs.49,000 into his account, said he would get Rs.500 in return and he would have to return the rest of the money after a few days. “I was told that if I make the deposit, my reputation in the bank would go up. I was also told I will get financial help in future. I will be given Rs.500 for the favour,“ he said.
Lead bank manager Pankaj Saxena said, “The workload on banks was twice on Friday compared to Thursday . There has been a noticeable spurt in Jan Dhan transactions.“