ACC cracks down on INR diversion through ATM cards

The prime suspect has shared a list of 286 Bhutanese names with their ATM details
By Rajesh Rai, Phuentsholing

Corruption: In what could be another major crackdown on corruption practices in Phuentsholing, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) is reportedly investigating a non-Bhutanese businessman in connection to Indian Rupee (INR) diversion from the country’s banks since 2013.
Along with him, the commission is likely to interrogate more than 286 Bhutanese involved in the fraudulent practice.
The suspect, Sanjeev Kumar Gupta, 32, from Jaigaon has been detained in connection to possession of numerous Bhutanese Automated Teller Machine (ATM) cards in Phuentsholing. Kuensel learnt that police had detained the suspect on August 20 based on ACC’s investigation.
Sources said he had 42 Bhutanese ATM cards on him when police apprehended him. The suspect had nine Bank of Bhutan (BoB) VISA cards and 33 Druk PNB Bank Limited maestro cards. Sources said that he has more ATM cards at his home in Jaigaon.
Following his detention, he provided the police a list of 286 Bhutanese names with their ATM card details who were involved in aiding him.
The modus operandi, sources reveal was that the Bhutanese Currency (BC) traded in Jaigaon would get deposited into these accounts. The money would then be cashed out in Rupee through ATM machines across the border. The account holders were paid commissions.
A Bhutanese can withdraw INR 15,000 each month from a bank in Bhutan. Should all the listed cardholders be considered active, the modus operandi would allow more than INR 51 million to be diverted in a year from the country.
Phuentsholing residents said that most of these account holders could be from the low-income group while local businessmen said that many Bhutanese living in Jaigaon are also highly vulnerable to such practices for commission.
Meanwhile, it is also a common occurrence in Phuentsholing to find Bhutanese ATM cards strewn about or left at ATM centres. The exit gate towards Jaigaon is one such site where at least more than five Bhutanese ATM cards are seen stacked at the gate.
The suspect, meanwhile, is a businessman at Jaigaon’s supermarket, a popular shopping destination for many Bhutanese since the supermarket doesn’t charge in INR.
As of yesterday, sources shared that the ACC was busy processing for a search warrant at the Phuentsholing dungkhag court.
By Rajesh Rai, Phuentsholing

1 reply
  1. amrithdiary
    amrithdiary says:

    I think people living in the border towns have no choice but to indulge in such corrupt practices because if the business community in Jaigaong does not accept BC, they would starve. With only Rs.15,000 allowed to be withdrawn in a month, life would be certainly difficult especially if you are in a border town where you have to depend on Indian markets for livelihood… However this doesn’t mean that I support such practices but we have to look at it both from both angles…It’s really sad that many people are devising new ideas to survive in the world everyday!

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