Tamil Nadu to West Bengal: How the hawala route was un-earthed?
Investigations now reveal that this hawala scam is easily around Rs 1,000 crore worth and several businessmen part of this operation had been moving money around generated through lottery schemes which emerge out of Tamil Nadu and West Bengal.
The IT department raid and subsequent investigation has managed to account for Rs 50 crore and say that the money was meant to be transferred to the United Arab Emirates.
Another Rs 50 crore was also meant to be transferred to the same destination, investigations also suggest. The source of the money was from Tamil Nadu and West Bengal where a major illegal lottery racket is being run, the officials also informed.
The source of the money
Investigators estimate the scam to be worth around Rs 1,000 crore and further investigations will give an account for the entire sum. However from what has been discovered so far, we have found that a large chunk of the money came in from Tamil Nadu where there are several persons running an illegal lottery racket.
The money that was generated through the illegal lottery racket was routed from Tamil Nadu to West Bengal.
Money that was generated in West Bengal through the same racket was also pooled in.
There were four to five persons in West Bengal who were tasked with moving the money out of India through a hawala route. The preferred hawala route to move money out of West Bengal has always been Bangladesh.
It was noticed that several businessmen have set up companies to move around money through hawala channels.
There are several fake fronts that have been discovered during the probe which were set up specifically to move around the money.
Almost 70 per cent of the money has been generated through the illegal lottery business, investigators informed.
The kingpins in the Tamil Nadu illegal lottery scheme were found to be directly involved in this racket and have been regularly sending money into West Bengal to be moved out through a hawala channel.
The West Bengal to Bangladesh to UAE route has been the most preferred route for hawala transactions.
The CBI too had in the Saradha scam had found that a large chunk of money was moved out by the mastermind first to Bangladesh and then to other destinations abroad.
All such transactions were done through fake fronts which have been in operation for several years now.
The Tamil Nadu link
The Tamil Nadu link to the lottery scam is nothing new. Recently in Karnataka when a lottery scam was unearthed, there was a direct link to one Santiago Martin who is alleged to be controlling that racket.
The lottery scam which emerges out of Tamil Nadu is linked to the states of Kerala as well.
However the money that is generated through this racket runs into several thousand crores of rupees. Most of the money is routed out of the country through a hawala channel, investigations had found. The hawala operatives who work on a percentage ensure that the money is safely parked outside India. From Tamil Nadu, the money that is collected is shifted in gunny sacks before it reaches its destination in West Bengal. The other destination where this money is sent to before it can be moved outside is Old Delhi which has some of the oldest hawala operatives in the country.
The underworld connection
The investigators will probe to find out the extent of the underworld link to this scam. It is a major money spinner and to park money outside, the underworld must be having a hand in it, an intelligence bureau official informed.
The underworld is said to be controlling a hawala racket in the country which runs into nearly Rs 5,000 crore.
Previous investigations have also shown that Pakistan based operatives not only control the hawala racket, but also have an active role in the lottery scam.
Pakistani agents have duped several persons in India through fake online lottery scams in the past.