How a bullion trader used a hawala operative to deposit Rs 150 crore

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Mumbai, Dec 26: Four banks are under the scanner of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) after officials allegedly helped a trader in Mumbai bring in Rs 150 crore in demonetised currency. The cash was deposited into several shell companies that exist only on paper, the ED has learnt.

The ED also learnt that the officials in the banks accepted the currency without any questions being asked. The ED suspects that this appears to be a part of an operation between a hawala and a bullion trader.

Bullion trader deposits Rs 150 cr

There are various other discrepancies that have been found in this particular transaction. For one, the notes were not even counted when it was brought in. Secondly, it was found that the notes were counted only the next day.

Also read: Why RBI recommendations on demonetisation won't be made public

What is suspicious is that the notes were not counted on day one, but seemed to reflect in the accounts, the ED says. Further, the ED also sought to know why the deposit slips were issued without the notes being counted.

The bullion trader who was questioned by the ED was unable to provide the details of the customers who made these payments to him. When questioned, he told the ED officials that he had received orders over phone and handed over the gold to unknown persons. The ED, however, did not buy this version.

According to the investigations conducted by the ED, the bullion trader collected demonetised currency for a commission. He also sold the gold at a premium, the ED also learnt. The trader then went on to deposit the money into shell companies with the help of hawala operatives.

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