Case 02/2014 – Bribery in INR repatriation at Druk Punjab National Bank

Sometime between May 2012 to January 2014, one Mr. Jitendra Choudhary from Manglabari, Jaigaon, West Bengal, India colluded with one employee of Druk PNBL Thimphu in a scheme designed to repatriate Indian Rupee (INR). This fraud was conspired after the central bank i.e. Royal Monetary Authority (RMA) issued a circular aimed to regulate and prevent depletion of INR reserves. This regulation required all Bhutanese merchants needing payments against import from India to be processed through banking channels only and upon production of Customs documents.

Mr. Jitendra Choudhary in complicit with his several accomplices in Jaigaon operated this fraudulent scheme with the purpose to profit from selling of INR currency in Jaigaon. The modus operandi entailed his accomplices depositing cash denominated in Bhutanese Ngultrum (Nu) in multiple Bhutanese accounts maintained with Druk PNBL branch in Phuntsholing while Mr. Jitendra Choudhary processed Demand Draft (DD) and Telegraphic Transfer (RTGS) for the same value of each deposit on the same day from Thimphu branch. In doing so, he filed to the bank numerous falsified invoices and Customs import declaration records.  The investigation discovered that one banking officer aided Mr. Jitendra Choudhary in facilitating the fraudulent remittances, mostly without any support documents, in exchange for illicit commission of about 2% of the remittance value. The officer initially arranged his wife’s account as well as their joint account to be used by Mr. Jitendra Choudhary for a certain period. The investigation determined that Mr. Jitendra Choudhary remitted Nu. 70.056 million worth of INR by using as many as 19 different bank accounts and paid Nu.688,180 in commission to the officer.  To those individuals who arranged business licenses and opened bank account for him, he paid commissions ranging from Nu.3000 to Nu.5000. In two separate occasions, the same officer also received a corrupt payment of Nu.49,350 from one Indian mobile phone dealer in return for processing five remittances without required documents. 

The investigation found that the bank staff did not exercise proper due diligence to sincerely implement the central bank’s instruction. 

The Commission, upon finding prima facie case of bribery and other criminal offences, forwarded the case to OAG for prosecution on 26 March 2014.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *