A Delhi court has issued a letter of request to the competent authorities in Australia seeking its assistance in the Enforcement Directorate's probe for collecting evidence in a case of alleged laundering of money globally in a drug trafficking racket.
The court issued the request after ED submitted that the probe in the case, in which three accused were arrested from Amritsar and Delhi on September 25, has international ramifications and further investigation needed to be carried out at various places in India and abroad.
"I have heard the submissions (of ED) and perused the record and also the documents which prima facie show that the documents and evidence are required to be collected from Australia with whom India has Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty," additional sessions judge Neena Bansal Krishna said. "Having regard to the investigations which have been so far made and also the submissions made, letter of request be issued to the competent authorities of Australia for collection of evidence and documents."
ED had arrested Gagandeep Singh and Paramdeep Singh from Amritsar on September 25 while third accused Gaurav Gupta was taken into custody in Delhi on the same day. ED's special prosecutor Naveen Kumar Matta told the court that the Australian federal police have been conducting a probe into the activities of global money laundering networks relating to drug trafficking. and a letter of request was received from the Australian authorities for assistance regarding involvement of these accused in the syndicate.
ED said that a case was lodged under provisions of Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) on September 24 and residence and business premises of the accused were searched in Amritsar and Delhi in which some incriminating documents, electronic devices, Rs77 lakh and assorted foreign currencies were seized.
Matta submitted that these accused were involved in illegal business of fund transfer to and from India to Australia and vice versa through banking channels and 'hawala' route relating to funds generated out of drug money, which was proceeds of crime under the PMLA.
ED also alleged that the money was also transferred to the United Kingdom (UK), the US, the UAE, Europe and Hong Kong.
These three arrested accused were linked with their alleged associates Gulshan Kumar, Mandeep Singh and Sanjeev Kumar Saini in Australia and Bunty Sharma in Germany. Gulshan and Mandeep are under investigation of the Australian police for allegedly dealing with proceeds of crime suspected to be of drug syndicate and organised crime groups identified by it.
"Australian dollars to the tune of 98,09,379 and 103,15,595 have been transferred from the accounts of Gulshan Kumar and Sanjeev Kumar Saini through their companies to the accounts of Gagandeep Singh and Paramdeep Singh respectively," the ED said, adding that Gaurav was associated with Gagandeep and Paramdeep.
Regarding Bunty, the ED said that he was arrested by the UK authorities on his entry to Britain from Germany for allegedly dealing with proceeds of crime suspected to have been derived from drug money.
It also said that Gagandeep and Paramdeep were arrested earlier by the Punjab Police in a drug peddling case lodged in 2011.