New Delhi: The finance ministry has directed banks to ensure that cash deposits in bank branches reflect whether they have been made in new currency or in the old demonetised currency, in yet another attempt to curb money laundering and conversion of illegal wealth.

In a letter addressed to chiefs of state-run banks and to the chairman of the Indian Banks’ Association, the department of financial services directed banks to ensure that the nature of these bank notes at the time of cash deposits is reflected “both in the bank record as well as the customer’s record."

Banks have also been asked to ensure that bank branches put up sign boards asking customers to fill up deposit slips clearly indicating old and new currency and the denomination of the notes, the finance ministry said in a statement quoting the letter.

Banks have been asked to deal with deviations immediately and firmly, and submit an action taken report by 16 December to the government.

The letter comes after massive seizures across the country by the income tax department of new currency notes. So far, seizures of new legal currency notes has crossed Rs20 crore despite weekly withdrawal limits of Rs24,000 per bank account and the daily withdrawal limit of Rs2,000 per debit card from automated teller machines since last month.

With these big seizures in new currency, the government suspects that massive money laundering is taking place in collusion with bank officials at a time of currency shortage.

Last month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared that the old Rs500 and Rs1,000 notes are no longer legal tender, giving people time till 30 December to deposit their old currency in banks. But because of the slow pace of replacement, there is a huge demand-supply mismatch, making long queues at bank branches and ATMs a common feature even a month after the partial demonetization.

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