The Enforcement Directorate conducted raids in 44 locations against Chinese mobile company Vivo related to money-laundering allegations. The searches, which were conducted on Tuesday, were carried out under sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) at locations in several States, including Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Meghalaya, Maharashtra and others. Similar action was earlier conducted against another Chinese phone maker Xiaomi.

According to reports, the ED is conducting searches at 44 places related to Vivo and associated companies. The federal agency filed a money-laundering case after taking cognisance of a recent FIR by Delhi Police (economic offences wing) against a distributor of the agency, based in Jammu and Kashmir, where it was alleged that few Chinese shareholders in that company forged their identify documents.

The ED suspects this alleged forgery was done to launder illegally generated funds using shell or paper companies, and some of these “proceeds of crime” were diverted abroad or put in some other businesses by skirting Indian tax and enforcement agencies.

The action is being seen as part of the Union government’s continued crackdown against Chinese entities and their linked Indian operatives indulging in serious financial crimes such as money laundering and tax evasion while operating here.

The premises of a number of Chinese smartphone makers, their distributors and linked associates, were raided across the country by the Income Tax Department in December last year, and it later claimed to have detected alleged unaccounted income worth over ₹6,500 crore due to violation of the Indian tax law and regulations.

On the raids, a Vivo spokesperson said: “Vivo is cooperating with the authorities to provide them with all required information. As a responsible corporate, we are committed to being fully compliant with the laws.”