Mumbai, October 6: The Government on Friday informed that thirteen banks have provided vital information on the bank account operations and post-demonetisation transactions of suspicious companies. These 13 banks have submitted their First Instalment of data. The data received from them pertains to merely about 5,800 companies (out of more than 2 lakh that were struck off) involving 13,140 accounts. As per details by Corporate Affairs Ministry, few of the companies have been found to have more than 100 accounts to their names. This in itself is a revealing figure. The highest grosser among these is a company having 2134 accounts, followed by others having accounts in the range of 900, 300 etc.

The data pertaining to the pre demonetization account balances and transactions conducted from the accounts of these companies during the demonetization period is even more startling. It is informed that, after separating the loan accounts, these companies were having a meagre balance of Rs 22.05 crore to their credit on 8th November, 2016. However, from 9th November, 2016 i.e. after the announcement of demonetization, till the date of their being struck off, these companies have altogether deposited a huge amount of Rs 4,573.87 crore in their accounts and withdrawn an equally large amount of Rs 4,552 crore. With loan accounts, there was a negative opening balance of Rs 80.79 crore.

According to a government press release, disturbing factors have been identified of companies having multiple accounts with miniscule or negative balance as on 8th November, 2016 which have then deposited and withdrawn amounts going in several crores from these accounts. The accounts were thereafter again left as dormant accounts with paltry balance. As mentioned earlier, this exercise of swindling the authorities was carried-out post demonetization till the companies were struck off. In some cases, certain companies have gone more adventurous and made deposits and withdrawals even after being struck off.

For example, in one of the Bank, 429 companies having zero balance each as on 8th November, 2016 have deposited and withdrawn over Rs 11 crore and left again with a cumulative balance of just Rs 42,000 as at the date of freezing. Similarly in the case of another Bank, more than 3000 such companies, most having multiple accounts, have been located. From having a cumulative balance of about Rs. 13 crore as on 8th November, 2016, these companies have deposited and withdrawn about Rs 3800 crore, leaving a negative cumulative balance of almost Rs 200 crore at the time of freezing of their accounts. “It needs to be re-emphasized that this data is only about 2.5% of the total number of suspected companies that have been struck off by the Government. The huge money game played by these companies may well be the tip of an iceberg of corruption, black money and black deeds of these and many more of their brethren”, the release said.

Operations and transactions of 2,09,032 suspicious companies had been struck off the Register of Companies in September.  The government in September had stepped up action against “suspicious” companies defaulting on filing financial statements and making statutory disclosures. The Finance Ministry announced in September that 2.09 lakh firms had been struck off from the Register of Companies under Section 248 (5) of the Companies Act and ordered restrictions on bank accounts of the deregistered “shell” companies. The finance ministry, through the Indian Banks Association, advised all the banks to take immediate steps to restrict transactions in bank accounts of more than 2.09 lakh companies, whose names have been struck off the Register of Companies.

“A company even having an active status on the website of the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, but defaulting on filing its due financial statements or annual returns of particular of charges on its assets on the secured loan should be seen with suspicion as, prima facie, the company is not complying with its mandatory statutory obligations to file this vital information for availability to its stakeholders,” the government said in its notification.

In case of the 2,09,032 suspicious companies, their directors and authorised signatories became ex-directors or ex- authorised signatories soon after the companies were struck off the Register of Companies. These individuals will, therefore, not be able to operate bank accounts of such companies till such companies are legally restored under Section 252 of the Companies Act by an order of the National Company Law Tribunal.