Hawala gang held in hotel raid in Delhi, Rs 3.25 cr recovered

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Police raided a hotel in central Delhi’s area and recovered Rs 3.25 crore in demonetised notes from five men who were allegedly involved in collectingfrom various hawala operators in the national capital and delivering it in for conversion to white.

The Crime Branch had got a tip-off yesterday evening about some and Rajasthan-based people making regular visits to for conversion of into white with the help of money exchangers in Karol Bagh, said Ravindra Yadav, Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime).

He said the five men — Ansari Abuzar, Fazal Khan, Ansari Affan, Ladu Ram and Mahaveer Singh — had hoarded pile of illegally through hawala and were planning to carry it to Mumbai.

It has also been found that they had made three trips between and during November and December, said another officer.

They would take the collected from in check-in baggage and wrap it in a specialised manner to evade detection by scanning machines.

“After collecting the cash, they used to make bundles of the notes by wrapping them in newspapers by using double side tapes and adhesives.

“They used to cover these bundles with black clothes and place spiral telephone and internet connecting cables near each bundle to deceive baggage scanning machines installed at the railway stations or airports,” said Yadav.

In case the accused were asked about the contents of the baggage, they would say they are carrying a landline phone.

“They used to carry a manual pocket balance to weigh the bags so that they did not exceed the permissible limits for carrying bag and baggage during flight journey,” the officer said, adding, “After collecting the cash, they would depart hurriedly for Mumbai.”

These men were staying at Karol Bagh’s Hotel Taksh Inn, whose owner is also a money exchanger and runs his business in the name of Guru Forex in a shop, said Yadav.

Even though his direct involvement has not emerged in this matter the Income Tax Department is probing that angle, sources said.

A team was constituted under the supervision of DCP Rajesh Deo and the information was shared with the IT Department and a team of IT officials led by deputy director Abhishek Anand was roped in for the operations, said the officer.

A search warrant was procured by the Income Tax department and the premises was raided around 8.30 PM yesterday.

“Five people staying in room numbers 106, 202 and 206 were detained and four suitcases and one cardboard carton box containing demonetised currency notes were recovered and seized by Income Tax officials. On counting, they were found to be having a value of Rs 3.25 crore,” said Yadav.

No case has so far been filed against them by Police as the seizure does not amount to an offence under its purview, and they have been handed over to the IT department who would further interrogate them, said the officer.
Yadav said the five men are carriers. Affan is the boss of

the other four persons who hires local trusted youths, preferably from his neighbourhood community to operate in a clandestine manner. He has close acquaintances with the money exchangers and agents active in Delhi, he added.

Affan, Khan and Abuzar are residents of Mumbai, while Ram and Singh belong to Rajasthan. Affan was paid money on the basis of the number of trips he made, while the other four were paid Rs 2,000 per day.

“It has been revealed that the gang is operated by Mumbai-based hawala operators Lalit Bhai and Bholu Bhai who collect from various people of Maharashtra and from other states of the country and later after deducting their commission, they return the money in white.

“In Delhi, they collect from various hawala operators including Paras, Rahul and Vinod and get it converted to white,” the officer said, adding the Income Tax Department and Enforcement Directorate have been informed.

“It is not known to whom does the seized belong. It has also to be ascertained whether these persons had been detected by the airport authorities and how did they manage to convince them,” said sources.