The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) has claimed to have unearthed a hawala racket in Ludhiana, allegedly involving laundering of at least Rs 1,000 crore.
The exposure came following a scam by a Ludhiana-based exporter, who used inflated bills and took unfair advantage of a duty drawback scheme run by the union finance ministry to gain incentives of Rs 60 crore.
Sources said that acting on intelligence inputs, the Delhi unit of DRI found that the businessman, whose name was withheld, was using “fake, inflated bills” to get incentives of the drawback scheme, while exporting “sub-standard” readymade garments.
They said the exporter, who runs several firms, was sending garments to the US and the Middle East by allegedly inflating the cost of the garments.
Further investigations revealed that another Ludhiana-based man, Mukesh Singh Singhania, an alleged hawala operator, provided the businessman these bills.
“Initial investigation reveals that Singhania has allegedly laundered over Rs 1,000 crore through different channels and was also helping the exporter in routing his illegal money from foreign countries to India through inflated bills,” the sources claimed.
Searches were conducted at over 10 places in Delhi and Punjab and many documents were seized, said the DRI sources.
The DRI is scrutinising exports transactions through three firms of the exporter to ascertain the exact amount involved in the alleged fraud.
DRI officials have also seized the consignments of the exporter’s companies in Delhi containing ‘sub-standard material’.
They said the case might be referred to the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to probe alleged money laundering.
A DRI official said the alleged scam has international ramification and it is examining the role of others, who might have been involved in the case.
The government’s duty drawback scheme provides rebate on duty chargeable on any imported materials or excisable material used in manufacturing or processing goods manufactured in India and exported.
An exporter gets value-based incentives, while availing grants through the scheme, which is aimed at promoting exports.