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Hawala racket busted

business Updated: Nov 27, 2008 12:10 IST

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The Enforcement Directorate has busted a hawala racket operating from a shop dealing in foreign exchange in a posh locality in New Delhi and has seized cash amounting to Rs 18 lakh and foreign currency worth Rs 3.5 lakh.

Sources in the agency said that based on a specific tip-off, the Delhi Zonal Unit of the ED raided the forex shop in Greater Kailash in south Delhi recently.

"The search revealed that the money changer was engaged in illegal sale and purchase of foreign currency and in hawala transactions," a senior official of the agency said.

Sources said that cash amounting to Rs 18.10 lakh was seized along with foreign currency worth Rs 3.5 lakh during the raids at the office and residence besides certain incriminating documents.

"Seized documents also indicate acquisition of immovable property in Dubai and operation of foreign bank accounts," the sources said.

They said that the documents relating to investments in properties worth Rs 1.66 crore were seized.

The sources said as per RBI guidelines, foreign currency could be exchanged only after taking into account passport details and other related requirements.

"In the present case we found that no such guidelines were being followed. Moreover, each forex establishment is supposed to maintain a log book which is open to inspection by government bodies. But here, the log book was present only for namesake," sources said.

This is the second hawala racket to have been busted by the agency in the recent past. Earlier last month, a major hawala racket was busted by ED which resulted in seizure of over Rs 4 crore.