India

India rupee ban: Bangalore 'heist' bank driver arrested

Dominic Roy Image copyright Kashif Masood
Image caption Dominic Selvaraj (middle) allegedly drove off with the van while his colleague was using the toilet

Police in the Indian city of Bangalore have arrested the driver of a van carrying cash for ATMs who is accused of stealing 9.2m rupees ($134,000; £107,000) in new 2,000 rupee notes.

Dominic Selvaraj allegedly drove off with the van six days ago while his colleague was using the toilet.

He was arrested on Wednesday morning while returning to Bangalore from neighbouring Tamil Nadu, police said.

ATMs have seen long lines since India banned 500 and 1,000 rupee notes.

The government said that the ban was part of an effort to crack down on corruption and force those with undeclared wealth out into the open.

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A police official told BBC Hindi's Imran Qureshi that they have only managed to recover 7.9m rupees from the amount that was stolen.

"He has told the police that he used the rest of the money to repay his debts and give out a loan to a friend. In any case, we are investigating," he said.

Chaotic scenes

Mr Selvaraj had been hired as a driver three weeks ago by a firm that transfers cash between ATMs and banks.

The van he was driving did not have a GPS facility, which Mr Selvaraj had been aware of, police said.

There have been chaotic scenes in India ever since the currency ban was announced two weeks ago.

It has brought India's largely cash economy to a virtual standstill as the two banned notes accounted for 86% of the money in circulation.

The government has introduced new 500 and 2,000 rupee notes, but these are still in the process of being injected into the economy and banks often run out of the new money.

People have been told they can deposit or change their old notes in banks until 30 December.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who made the surprise announcement in an address to the nation, said the decision was made to target people who have hoards of unaccounted cash, known in India as "black money".

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