Did Rahul Gandhi make another gaffe while ‘exposing’ Jaitley based on a debunked hitjob?

Our analysis suggests that the ICICI Bank account number mentioned by Rahul Gandhi does not exist

Continuing his attack on BJP leadership, on 22 October Congress President Rahul Gandhi tweeted that Arun Jaitley’s daughter was on the payroll of Mehul Choksi, the businessman currently on run after committing fraud. He also alleged that the Finance Minister’s daughter had received money from ICICI Bank account number 12170500316.

Rahul Gandhi has also alleged that the legal firm of Sonali Jaitley and her husband Jaish Bakshi had received ₹24 lakh from Gitanjali Gems, the firm of Mehul Choksi, and that they returned the money on February 20, after Mehul fled the country.

Although only Sonali Jaitley and Jaish Bakshi can confirm or deny the allegations, we have tried to do a fact on these claims based on one limited piece of information, the account number from where money was allegedly transferred to Sonali Jaitley’s farm.

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Rahul Gandhi mentions that account number is 12170500316 and it is an ICICI Bank account, which has 11 digits. But ICICI Bank accounts have 12 digits. So, this ‘account number’ fails the first verification test.

Next, we tried adding this number as a beneficiary on our ICICI Bank account, for this we did it in two steps, one using the 11-digit number, and then adding a zero at the beginning so that it becomes a valid 12-digit account number of ICICI Bank. Unfortunately, our both attempts resulted in failure, and the banking app gave the error message “Sorry. Your transaction could not be processed. Please try again (#0084)”.

Screenshot from the banking app

This means that either the account number does not exist, or it has been closed. As the error message is not clear, it can’t be determined what is the actual reason. So, the result is undecided in this check, although it is certain that at present this account number does not exist.

Next, we tried to analyse the account number more closely. We know that for many banks in India including ICICI, the first 4 digits of a bank account number indicate the code of the branch where that account was opened. Taking 12170500316 as the account number, we get the branch code 1217, and IFSC code ICIC0001217, which gives us Bharat Diamond Bosure Branch in Mumbai. But in this case, the account number will be wrong, as it can’t be 11-digit long. If make it a valid account number and make it 012170500316, the branch code becomes 0121 and IFSC code becomes ICIC0000121, but that is an invalid IFSC code, there is no such ICICI Bank branch with this code. Therefore, in this test with branch code, both versions of the account number fail.

Based on this analysis, we can conclude that the account number is wrong, or maybe the Congress president has made a typo while writing the number.

This is not the first time that allegations of links between Choksi and daughter of Arun Jaitley have been made. In March this year, OpIndia had reported that the leftist propaganda website ‘The Wire’ was going to publish this as a ‘proof’ of some wrongdoing by Arun Jaitley. Following this, when the website published the story, they concluded that “The Wire’s initial conclusion was that there wasn’t much of a story after all.”

Even though Bakshi had confirmed to The Wire that indeed they had received the money from Gitanjali Gems, and they returned it after a couple of months, the publication had concluded that there was no hint of any corruption in this transaction.

It is interesting to note that while a website like The Wire concluded that there was no story in it and didn’t pursue the matter further, Rahul Gandhi is still making those allegations. And that time also, Rahul Gandhi had made the same allegation, linking the same article by The Wire.

It seems the Congress President is taking a leaf out of Arvind Kejriwal’s book of making allegations. A couple of years ago, the AAP leader had published alleged Swiss bank account numbers of Anil Ambani and Mukesh Ambani. The Ambanis had rejected those claims and said that they didn’t have any account with those numbers. The numbers provided by Arvind Kejriwal were 10-digit long, while the International Bank Account Number that banks in Switzerland use are 21 character long alphanumeric codes, and the account number itself is 12 digit-long.

Note: This article has been updated with some relevant information


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