Hawala racket bust, 2 held in TN

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Chennai, Oct 21: Customs officials arrested two employees of a private company on charges of smuggling hawala money abroad under the guise of sending people for employment.

City-based Eskon Consultancy Private Limited Managing Director Venugopal and Manager Rathinam were arrested in a raid early morning today and produced before a Magistrate. They were later remanded in custody.

The raids followed yesterday's seizure of Rs 11 lakh of hawala money from 11 passengers who were being sent by the company to Singapore to take up jobs as fitters there.

Five persons hailed from Sivaganga District, two each from Thanjavur and Pudukottai and one each from Vridhachalam and Kanniyakumari Districts.

Acting on information, Air Customs Officials off-loaded the 11 passengers and their baggage. On thorough check of their baggage, officials recovered a total of Rs 11 lakh.

Each of them were carrying a suitcase containing two brown covers with Rs 50,000 each.

On interrogation, they said the covers were given by Eskon Company which said it contained work permits and related documents.

The company had asked them not to open the sealed covers and instructed them to hand it over to a person who would receive them at the Singapore Airport.

After the seizure, the Customs officials slapped a fine of Rs 5,000 each on them. Since they did not have the money, they were given two days time to make the payment.

Further investigation was on to find the quantum of hawala money smuggled from India in the guise of sending people abroad for employment.

UNI

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