The 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 (DRI) said that 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 the working of a well-established syndicate, having reach within and outside the country.

They added that the DRI is getting the these seized devices forensically examined for more evidence to nail the culprits.

The officials claimed that 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 rebate on duty chargeable on any imported or excisable material used in manufacture or processing of goods manufactured in India and exported.

They claimed that the exporter, who runs several export firms in Ludhiana, was sending garments to the US and West Asia by inflating their cost 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.

The DRI officials mentioned that they will also probe the role of certain officials of a bank which was handling the duo’s accounts.

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

(This article was published on July 9, 2012)
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