The alleged Hawala dealer-- identified as Pankaj Kapoor-- was operating almost 2,200 private vaults inside his basement shop in the inner circle of the market and had collected cash to the tune of Rs 1,000 crore in the first six months of this year for routing it to various international destinations like the UK and Dubai.
The ED, which carried out the search operation till 3 am late last night, had seized incriminating documents, cash client diaries, and a number of laptops and mobile phones from the dealer's premises.
"This is the largest ever cash haul by the ED in the country when it comes to unearthing Hawala dealings. A case has been registered under the Foreign Exchange Management Act, FEMA," ED sources said.
According to sources, the dealer's modus operandi was to collect cash from various clients in the country in the name of diamond polishing trade and then route them to foreign shores, thereby violating forex rules laid down by the RBI.
"The hawala racket was done on a large scale under the garb of sale of imported diamonds against cash," sources said.
The ED also found that almost 1,900 vaults were lying un-occupied during the raid and the agency is now tracking the occupants of the other 300 vaults.
Two foreign bank accounts in UK and Dubai are under the scanner of the agency while few accounts in a prominent private Indian bank are also under the probe eye of the ED, they said.