New Delhi: The government has said action will be taken if any person is found guilty in the alleged money laundering scam involving three private sector banks which was exposed by a website.
"Both RBI and Ministry have got into the act. So, we are collecting the information, the channels have been contacted. Once we establish what is the truth of the matter, we will decide on the further course of action. But prima facie this is a serious matter," Financial Services Secretary Rajiv Takru said.
The comments follow Cobrapost website playing what it said was video recordings of officials of HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank and Axis Bank allegedly agreeing to receive unaccounted sums of cash and put them in their investment schemes and benami accounts in violation of anti-money laundering laws.
"It is too premature to talk of the banks are offenders. We need to establish that first. It is unfortunate that it has happened. We are all shocked and surprised. If the fact is established, then whoever is guilty will pay the price," Takru said.
He said there is a possibility that the whole expose, which covers several branches of the banks, would be probed by government agencies.
"If there is any truth in it, then only needs to be probed in-house, but it needs to be probed by outside agencies as well, which of course is going to be done," he said.
He further said the information which appears to have been collected from various bank branches at number of locations and not a single branch "is a matter of greater worry".
"I would say it is either a remarkable coincidence or there could be more to it which needs to be looked at more seriously," he said.
Takru said the government would have to first establish the violation and "in case violations are found, there would be a very very severe reaction and we would come down with a very heavy hand".
First Published: Friday, March 15, 2013, 17:31