Scrapped old notes Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 which were to be exchanged latest by December 20, 2016, are still there. They can be exchanged even now, but for a hefty premium.
Non-Resident Indians (NRIs), who were allowed to exchange old notes till June 30 this year, are being offered a handsome commission for exchanging these notes.
“The going rate for exchanging old notes is Rs 9 on every Rs 100, so if you want to exchange Rs 1 crore in old notes, then you would get back Rs 9 lakh in new notes,” said Pravin (name changed), who is involved in this trade.
When asked why anyone would want to pay Rs 1 crore and get Rs 9 lakh, Pravin said, “These are people who don’t want to show the government their source of funds. It’s not about taking a hit on their current cash. Those who have not declared are the ones who feel their future source of income would also be exposed before the tax authorities,” said Pravin.
He said that after they collect their 1 per cent commission, they pass on the old notes to NRIs. “NRIs have approached us and for a crore of old notes, we ask them to give us Rs 10 lakh in new notes. This is how the trade is going on,” said Pravin. For a crore, we get a commission of Rs 50,000 to Rs 1 lakh.
He reckons that while the RBI deadline is June 30, they will stop the trade by June 25, as it would be a huge risk to carry on after that.
Last month, Thane police nabbed three people who were trying to exchange Rs 1 crore in old notes.
Hyderabad police too caught a businessman with Rs 3.48 crore old notes a couple of days back.
ET spoke to others involved in the trade and they confirmed that old notes were still being ex changed and the premium was Rs 9.
Senior RBI officials confirmed that they have heard of the ex change of banned notes through illegal means, but added that it was not in their jurisdiction to keep a tab on this.
“They are exchanging notes with NRIs and submitting absolutely foolproof documents,” said an RBI official. RBI did not respond to an email sent by ET seeking comments. On January 2, RBI said NRIs will be provided the facility to exchange banned notes at five offices in Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata and Nagpur - till June 30.
The exchange limit for NRIs as per FEMA (Foreign Exchange Management Act) regulations is Rs 25,000 per person.
At that time, while issuing the circular, RBI had said no thirdparty tender will be accepted under the facility. On fulfilment of the terms and conditions and the genuineness of the notes tendered, admissible amount will be credited to the tenderer’s KYC (know your customer) compliant bank account, it said.