The scanner is on the Angadias following an expose that suggested huge sums of black money was being brought in for the Gujarat elections. With the Election Commission capping the expenditure at Rs 28 lakh per candidate, many are relying heavily on black money.
The India Today sting revealed how politicians are using the Angadias to bring in the dirty cash. The Angadias were recently in the news when Dawood Ibrahim's brother, Iqbal Kaskar revealed that a lot of dirty cash was being moved for the syndicate through the Angadias.
The Angadias who are primarily diamond couriers have a well-entrenched network. They form a trusted network and are around 200 in number spread over Ahmedabad, Rajkot, Surat, Baroda, and Mumbai.
The Angadia system works on mutual trust and is an unofficial courier cum banking service. They are the conduit to the transfer of crores of rupees belonging to traders and rich people. Their area of operation is mainly between Mumbai and Gujarat.
The trust factor on the Angadias is so high that they would go to any length to protect their clients and also hide the contents. Hailing as they are originally from Kathiawad region in Gujarat, Angadias have been in business since the Independence days. They have in fact been the mainstay of unofficial courier-cum-banking service for people based in Mumbai and Gujarat.
While doing business, they use code words such as Jokhim and Zhewar to convey the content of the parcel. Traders and businessmen based in Mumbai and Gujarat rely heavily on them to transfer money, jewelry, and diamonds. They transport in less than 24 hours for a very small fee. They charge Rs 100 for a Rs 1 lakh worth transfer.
There are around 200 Angadias in Mumbai and another 200 in Ahmedabad, Rajkot, Surat, and Baroda. In Mumbai, Angadias run the business from the Bhuleshwar, Opera House, Zaveri Bazaar localities in south Mumbai and northern suburbs like Malad, Borivli, and Ghatkopar.
They ferry the cash and other valuables bound for Gujarat to Mumbai Central Railway station, in vehicles with escorts - mostly privately hired security personnel.
Gold and diamonds are transferred physically, while a conveyed word is normally sufficient for transfer of cash. Generally, the sender and recipient decide on a code. The sender takes a code from the recipient - which is generally the serial number of a 10 or 100 note.
Then the sender informs the Angadia, who in turn conveys the same to his person at the recipient's end. Subsequently, it is delivered and the Rs 10 note bearing that currency number is taken - as a proof of delivery.
At times a telephone number is also used in place of currency note numbers. Here the recipient gives a missed call to the courier's cell to check the number.
Physical delivery of cash or diamond takes place on a daily basis. Generally, they go by Gujarat Mail and return the next day by Gujarat Mail. The Gujarat Mail departs from Mumbai Central at 10 pm and reaches Ahmedabad at 6.25 am the following day, while in the return direction the train leaves Ahmedabad at 10 pm and reaches the Mumbai Central Railway at 6.45 am the following day.
"Thirty to 50 percent of seats in two coaches of this train is booked by the Angadias. For security reasons, they travel in groups. They generally sit and gossip all through the night or sleep in turns.