New Delhi: Though the new Rs 2000 notes carry the signature of Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Urjit Patel, they were printed when his predecessor, Raghuram Rajan, was still in office.
According to a Hindustan Times report, RBI presses that produced Rs 2,000 bills said that they initiated the “first stage of printing process” on August 22, 2016, nearly two weeks before the end of Rajan’s term as Governor.
Significantly, this was just a day after Urjit Patel was named as his successor. Patel however, took over from Rajan only on September 4, 2016.
Questions sent by email to the RBI and the Union finance ministry seeking clarification on whether Rajan was a party to the decision to introduce Rs 2,000 notes or why the new bills didn’t bear his signature, went unanswered, said HT.
Raghuram Rajan also did not respond to similar queries sent by email.
In December, the RBI told the parliamentary panel on finance that permission to print Rs 2000 notes was received on June 7, 2016, when Rajan was still in office.
“Accordingly, the presses were advised in June 2016 to initiate production of new series notes,” the bank told the panel in a letter.
This then raises the question as to how Urjit Patel’s signatures were present on the notes, said the report.
Bharatiya Reserve Bank Note Mudran (P) Ltd (BRBNMPL), a wholly owned subsidiary of the central bank, ratified the proposed security features in the new notes before the printing started, as is the practice.
The HT report also stated that BRBNMPL responded to an RTI query that printing of new Rs 500 notes started only on November 23, 15 days after demonetisation. This validates the Opposition’s outcry that the government focused exclusively on printing of Rs 2000 notes following demonetisation, thus leading to a shortage of cash and long lines at ATMs and bank counters.