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HindustanTimes Thu,28 Aug 2014

West

More hawala deals found, total now R5,000 cr: I-T
Manish Pachouly, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, June 14, 2013
First Published: 09:11 IST(14/6/2013)
Last Updated: 09:19 IST(14/6/2013)
 Trouble seems to be mounting for bullion trader Prithviraj Kothari and his company RiddhiSiddhi Bullions Ltd, with the income tax (I-T) authorities recovering more documents, taking hawala transactions made by him to the tune of over Rs5,000 crore.

On Tuesday when the searches began, officials had found evidence of hawala (illegal channel to transfer money) transactions worth Rs1,000 crore.

Sources in the department said the amount of hawala transaction could increase further as the investigation progresses. “A huge portion of money involved in Riddhi Siddhi is from hawala,” an I-T official said.

While speaking to HT earlier, Kothrari had denied his involvement in hawala and had claimed he and his company deal in cheques only and everything is accounted for.

Kothari, meanwhile, continued to elude I-T officials. Authorities also could not contact many of his relatives till Thursday evening. One of Kothari’s close relative was found in a prominent hotel in South Mumbai on early Wednesday.

However, one of the directors of the company appeared before the I-T and was in the process of recording his statement. Officials said if they get proper statement of any of the directors, it would be enough for the investigation.

Sources said the search team on Thursday continued to seize computers, hard discs, laptops, documents and other data kept in various lockers. Officials also seized bogus bills and fake importexport documents running into thousands of crores. “All these are being scrutinised,” the official said.

Sources said a large number of documents and other data are in code terms and complex. “The process of decoding them will take time,” the official added.

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