New Delhi: Remember Sreesanthâs friend Abhishek Shukla? The man who was arrested for allegedly removing cricketer's money and articles from his hotel room? Yes, the same man has posed a question on demonetisation, which the Prime Minister and his entire task force probably never saw coming.
Abhishek was charged, along with Sreesanth, Ankit and other cricketers and bookies, in the IPL spot-fixing case in 2013. Subsequently, there was a raid at his residence, and other premises frequented by him. A total amount of Rs 5.5 lakh was seized during these raids and kept in the police âMalkhanaâ, where all the other case properties were kept.
And then there was a twist in the plot. In July 2015, sessions court discharged all the accused in the high-profile IPL spot-fixing case, stating there was no law which made âspot-fixingâ illegal. Thus, Abhishek Shukla, now a free man, moved the court to get his money back.
Finally, on 2nd February 2017, the court ordered the investigation officer to return the cash to him. But the hard cash that came to him, was now rendered completely useless. Demonetisation had killed 500 and 1000-rupee notes. When he went and approached the Reserve Bank of India, the bank refused to change them.
RBI, through a letter dated 7.3.2017, "declined the request of the petitioner to change the currency notes by citing the reason that RBI does not have any power to accept SBNs for deposit/exchange â except from tenderers as permitted to avail the facility during grace periods (Indian Citizens who were outside India between Nov. 9, 2016, to Dec. 30, 2016)."
In shock, Shukla has now moved the Apex Court through his lawyer Manjit Ahluwalia, asking the court to issue directions or guidelines so that he could get his money converted. The court has asked him to submit the seizure memo which shows the currency denomination of the seized cash within two weeks. The court will then decide what is to be done on the matter.
If Shukla manages to get his money back, then it would set a precedent for a number of other such cases. Senior police officers say there are hundreds of cases where the seizure money is in old currency and if acquitted, the accused have a right to get it back.