DRI probes global syndicates' role in Rs 1000 cr hawala ring

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New Delhi, Jul 9: Investigation into the over Rs 1,000 crore alleged hawala racket unearthed in Punjab has found the involvement of certain international syndicates and Delhi-based businessmen.

Sources in the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence said a large number of documents and data storage devices seized from the official and residential premises of two Ludhiana-based businessmen have given sufficient proof related to working of a well-established syndicate having reach within and outside the country.

They said the DRI is getting the pen drives, compact discs and other seized devices forensically examined for more evidence to nail the culprits.

The officials claimed they have exposed the racket while probing a scam by an exporter who fraudulently used inflated bills to misuse a duty drawback scheme run by the Finance Ministry and gained incentives worth Rs 60 crore.

The government's duty drawback scheme provides a rebate on duty chargeable on any imported material or excisable material used in the manufacture or processing of goods manufactured in India and exported.

They claimed the exporter, who runs several export firms in Ludhiana, was sending garments to the US and Middle East countries by inflating the cost of the garments with the help of an alleged hawala operator.

"We have called the hawala operator for questioning twice in recent times but he did not turn up. We will again call him for questioning," a DRI official said.

According to DRI sources, initial investigation shows that the hawala kingpin has allegedly laundered over Rs 1,000 crore through different channels. "He was also helping the exporter in routing his illegal money from foreign countries to India through inflated bills," a source said.

DRI officials said they will also probe the role of certain officials of a bank which was handling the duo's accounts. "Prima facie it appears that there were certain bank officials who were helping the duo in their transactions. We will soon be looking into their role," an official said.

"We will also refer the case to Enforcement Directorate to probe alleged money laundering in the case," he added.


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