Central government on Friday released some vital information about shell companies in a revelation, the government said that it has received the post-demonetisation transaction data from 13 banks involving 5,800 companies and 13,140 bank accounts. Suspicious companies numbering to 209,032 had been struck off the Register of Companies earlier this year and operations of their bank accounts were restricted for discharge of their liabilities only, an official release revealed.

After November 9, 2017, a day after demonetisation was announced, till the date of them being struck off, these companies have altogether deposited a huge amount of Rs 4,573.87 crore in their accounts and withdrawn an equally large amount of Rs 4,552 crore.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.

The official release stated, “Disturbing factors have been identified of companies having multiple accounts with miniscule or negative balance as on November 8, 2016 which have then deposited and withdrawn amounts going in several crore from these accounts.”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 demonetisation 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,” the release further said.

The government has termed it as a ‘major breakthrough’ in the fight against shell companies and the crackdown of black money. The government further added that the pre-demonetisation accounts and transactions conducted during the cash ban period is startling.

Similarly, in the case of another bank, more than 3,000 such companies, most having multiple accounts, have been identified. From having a cumulative balance of about Rs 13 crore as on November 8, 2016, these companies have deposited and withdrawn about Rs 3,800 crore, leaving a negative cumulative balance of almost Rs 200 crore at the time of freezing of their accounts.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 per cent 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.

The government statement indicated that  investigative agencies have been asked to complete necessary investigation in a time bound manner.

(With input from agencies)