Pune: The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India has revealed Indian railway administration’s failure to give clear instructions for acceptance of scrapped currency notes immediately after demonetisation. The auditor pointed out that Jansadharan Ticket Booking Sewaks (JTBSs) - the authorised agents appointed by the Railways to book unreserved tickets, took undue advantage of special permission given by Ministry of Finance for use of scrapped notes to buy tickets between November 9 and 11, 2016.
“It was observed that no specific directives/ instructions were issued by the Railway Board in respect of cash deposited by the JTBSs in Railway’s Deposit Accounts essential for issue/ sale of unreserved tickets through computerised Unreserved Ticketing System,” reads the report.
The audit body checked transactions carried out by 132 JTBS at 69 stations to find out that deposits made by the JTBSs for five days of pre- and post-demonetisation cash deposited by them immediately after demonetisation exceeded their normal pre-demonetised depositions. It was also observed that the percentage of tickets sold was significantly low by these JTBSs when compared to the cash deposited by them.
As per the report, of the total 210 authorised JTBS in Central Railway at seven stations including Pune, there was an unusual rise in cash deposition by 33 JTBSs immediately after demonetisation. For example, total cash deposited by JTBSs in CR on November 7 2016 (a day prior to demonetisation) was Rs 14.51 lakh which spiked to Rs 61.39 lakh on November 9 (a day after the announcement).
As per the report, after the matter was taken up by CAG, Central Railway administration referred the matter to the Income Tax Department in Pune, Mumbai, Nagpur and Bhusawal Divisions.
As per the Gazette Notification on November 8, 2016, currency notes of the denomination of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 were demonetised and these notes ceased to be legal tender on and from November 9, 2016. Railway Board, vide its letter on November 9, 2016, clarified that the specified bank notes would not cease to be legal tender with effect from November 9 until November 11, 2016, to the extent of transactions at railway ticketing counters, read the report.