“I Did My Duty”: RTI Activist Behind Amit Shah-Note Ban Bank Story

Manoranjan Roy’s RTI showed that Amit Shah was director of a DCCB that collected max number of demonetised notes.

3 min read

Video Editor: Ashish Maccune

Mumbai-based activist Manoranjan S Roy has sent both the ruling party and the Opposition scrambling with his RTI seeking information on the exact amount of demonetised currency that had been collected by the various DCCBs in the country.

Roy's RTI revealed that the Ahmedabad District Central Cooperative Bank (DCCB), that had BJP chief Amit Shah as its director, collected the highest number of demonetised notes in the five-day period after note ban was announced on 8 November 2016.

A DCCB, with Amit Shah as its Director, collected the highest number of demonetised notes since the 8 November note ban announcement.
A DCCB, with Amit Shah as its Director, collected the highest number of demonetised notes since the 8 November note ban announcement.
(Photo: PTI)

The response to the RTI by the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) clarified that the entire transaction occurred between 8 November 2016, when currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 were rolled back, to 13 November 2016, when the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) announced that no DCCB would be allowed to accept demonetised notes, fearing that its lax rules would lead to money laundering.

Roy told The Quint about what compelled him to file the RTI and how his quest for the truth has left him worried for his life.

‘Working to Unearth Black Money Since 2012’

Roy said that the Amit Shah case was the latest in his efforts to unearth black money circulation in the economy, an initiative he says he has been pursuing since 2012.

“In 2012, I filed an RTI application with the RBI to get information on the difference between the Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes that the RBI said had been printed and the notes that the printing press had minted. After I found a major discrepancy, I filed a PIL with the Bombay High Court in 2015,” he said.

The activist said he had spoken to three printing presses to find out the number of notes in circulation.

For the Rs 500 denomination, about 19,45,40,00,000 pieces were sent to RBI. However, the RBI said that it had received only 18,98,46,84,000 pieces. This means that there was a shortfall of 46,93,16,000 pieces or Rs 23,465 crore.
The Rs 500 notes were demonetised by PM Modi on 8 November, 2016.
The Rs 500 notes were demonetised by PM Modi on 8 November, 2016.
(Photo: iStock)

The printing presses told Roy that they had sent 4,44,13,00,000 notes of the Rs 1,000 denomination, but the RBI stated that it had only received 4,45,30,00,000 pieces. This again, indicates an excess of 1,17,00,000 pieces or Rs 1,170 crore.

Following this, Roy filed a PIL in the Bombay High Court in 2015. The court, however, dismissed the PIL in 2015.

‘No Political Agenda, It’s My Duty For India’

Opposition leaders were quick to pounce on Roy’s findings, and termed Amit Shah’s link to the bank the proof of demonetisation being a scam. Roy, however, vehemently denied having any political motives.

“I’m not interested in any political agenda. All parties are the same to me, be it the BJP or the Congress. I only care about my country and that we are doing right by the people,” he said.

Roy admitted that he was worried about his safety, considering the powerful names mentioned in the RTI. He said that two months ago, he was also involved in exposing the EVM tampering allegations during the Karnataka elections. But nothing can keep him from fighting for the truth, he says.

But it’s (my role in revealing the facts) in the interest of the country. It was tampering with EVMs then, now its about tampering with the currency. If I have to die to tell the truth, then so be it.
Manoranjan S Roy

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