In a first,a joint operation spanning India and Australia and lasting about 40 hours, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and Australian Federal Police (AFP) on Thursday and Friday conducted multiple searches against sophisticated international narcotics money laundering networks.
While AFP conducted 13 search warrants across Australia, nine search warrants were executed by ED in Delhi and Amritsar in the joint operation codenamed “international”.
In India, three alleged Hawala dealers were detained besides seizing cash and computer peripherals.
“The mission is to dismantle transnational money laundering networks and prevent illegal funds from being reinvested in organised crime…the collaboration of partner agencies both in Australia and with the Indian Enforcement Directorate is exceptional,” said David Stewart, AFP Assistant Commissioner.
"The bilateral cooperation between the ED and the AFP resulting in this operation is an important step towards dismantling international Money Laundering structures," an ED release said.
An ED source said that the case pertained to an international syndicate of drug dealers which was generating stash funds and laundering the proceeds of this illegal trade.
The sources also said that the worldwide narcotics trade was being handled from Amritsar in Punjab.
Punjab has been in the news for both a transit point and a destination point for illegal drugs that mainly comprises heroin that is smuggled in from Pakistan and Afghanistan.