For many in the country the announcement by the Prime Minister on November 8 that Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes ceased to be legal tender from midnight came from a bolt from the blue. Across the nation, people have been standing in queues to exchange old notes for new ones or try, deposit their old notes or try and get access through their cash using cheques and withdrawal slips. 

The opposition parties have alleged the move has been anti-people and have said the Bharatiya Janata Party and its supporters were forewarned. 

So why does are some of these theories finding credence? 

1. The leak of the Rs 2000 note images on Twitter 

On November 6, two days before the announcement came and with no inkling about the RBI introducing new currency notes images of the Rs 2000 notes were on Twitter. 

One of them is the Co-Convener of the BJP’s Law & Legal Affairs Department in Punjab. The other pointed out that it was circulating on WhatsApp

2. A WhatsApp forward that might have done the rounds as a warning

A report in The Quint says that the photos of the Rs 2000 notes had been circulating on select WhatsApp groups well before the announcement came. And it was a rumour that that was part of many other reports that had fed the belief for some time that a possible move to pull Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes was coming. 

b’Representational image | Source: Reuters’

The report said that the photograph initially was available only to members of groups that consisted of the “very wealthy and politically connected businessmen and their friends” in September. By October, it was circulating on other platforms, and this combined with other news and rumours that had been trickling in meant that many had been forewarned about a possible demonetization. 

The report says that many businessmen who deal in cash might have got the opportunity to either convert their high currency notes into smaller ones, or even launder it if they spotted the signs. 

3. The fact that all public banks saw a sudden growth in deposits in the last quarter

An analysis by CNBC-News18’s Latha Venkatesh showed how all public banks suddenly saw a smart rise in deposits during the last quarter prompting the question about just how secret the operation was: 

4. The Bengal BJP making a sudden large deposit of cash & other reports

The Bengal CPM alleged that the BJP unit in the state had made a huge deposit of cash just before the announcement of demonetisation and has alleged that the party had advance notice. However, given the fact that the party deposited it in its bank account and would have declared it to tax authorities anyway, it’s not really clear what point the CPM is trying to make. 

b’Were there many hints the Rs 1000 notes were going to go? | Source: PTI’

However, as ScoopWhoop News columnist Swati Chaturvedi said a BJP leader in Uttar Pradesh had told her that they had a strong sense about some action against Rs 1000 notes when workers stopped taking the currency from money lenders and as payment. 

While the BJP has refuted all rumours, given major state polls are round the corner other political parties will be looking for more evidence of those having large sums of black money being forewarned. The BJP will be hoping for some big fish to be caught in the current demonetization drive for the rumours to be put to rest. 

(Feature image source: PTI)