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' No takers' for a busload of cash worth ` 92 crore.

THE INDIAN authorities' distaste for taking on responsibility is a welldocumented fact. But, on Friday night, their penchant for passing the buck took an embarrassing turn.

A Rajasthan State Road Transport Corporation cargo bus carrying ` 92 crore in cash shuttled between the RBI's Jaipur office and police lines for five hours as neither the police nor RBI officials were willing to take custody of the bus.

The drama began at 6.15pm when the bus carrying ' spoilt notes' from the State Bank of India in Alwar, PNB's Manu Marg Branch of Alwar, and State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur's two branches in Kotputli and Shahpura reached Jaipur.

As the bus reached 75 minutes late and the RBI's offices were closed by then, the officials refused to receive the money.

Consequently, the bus was taken to the police impound -- only to be brought back at the RBI office around midnight, where it remained parked until the matter was resolved.

The impasse was finally bridged and the money deposited after the intervention of Union minister of state for finance Namo Narayan Meena, who had a word with an RBI deputy governor in Mumbai, sources said.

On board the bus were officers of the respective banks, one of whom reported its arrival to S. N. Panda, the RBI regional general manager.

Panda replied to the bank officer that as RBI offices were closed at 5pm, the money could not be accepted, Jaipur ( east) SP Hawa Singh Ghumaria said.

According to Panda, the RBI officials had simply followed protocol in refusing to receive the money.

Security protocol dictates that the transfer required at least 15 employees to be present -- each having a specific role in securing the cargo, RBI sources revealed.

Moreover, banks possessing soiled currency are supposed to intimate the RBI two- three days prior to transportation. In the event of a delay, the RBI is not supposed to take custody of the notes, said an RBI officer.

As per set norms, Panda added, it should have been either remanded into the custody of the local police station or impounded to the police lots.

But the police authorities continued to pressure bank officials to accept the money which was not possible as the staff had already left, he pointed out.

Panda refused to budge even when Jaipur IG B. L. Soni tried to persuade him.

As the stalemate continued, the police issued an alert after which the bus was taken to the police impound around 10pm and brought back to the RBI building at 11.30pm after the high- level intervention.

Panda, who had gone home by then, was forced to rouse the bank's cash handling team and send them back to take custody of the money.


Bus carrying ' spoilt notes' from three banks reaches RBI office in Jaipur .

RBI refuses to accept cargo because it reached 75 min after the office closed at 5pm .

Bus taken to police impound.

The cops pressure bank officials to accept cargo but they refuse .

Junior finance minister Namo Narayan Meena speaks to RBI deputy governor in Mumbai, after which the bus is brought back to the RBI office around 11.30pm .

RBI's cash handling team forced to return to office to take delivery of cargo

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Publication:Mail Today (New Delhi, India)
Date:Aug 8, 2010
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