Sleuths of the enforcement directorate (ED) arrested a Chandigarh-based moneychanger on Wednesday for making multi-crore hawala transactions for arrested NRI drug peddler Anoop Singh Kahlon.
The office and residence of the moneychanger, Gurdeep Singh Manchanda (60), was raided and cash to the tune of Rs 11 lakh, apart from several documents relating to Kahlon's hawala transactions, were recovered, an ED official who led the raids told Hindustan Times.
Kahlon and his absconding accomplice Jagdish Singh Bhola, a former DSP, used to smuggle drugs from abroad, in lieu of which Manchanda used to send money through hawala to his associates in Canada, Australia and UK, the official said.
Manchanda, who was operating his business from Sector 32, Chandigarh, was produced in a special court in Patiala, which sent him in one-day remand. The amount of the hawala transactions Manchanda made for Kahlon would be known only after his detailed interrogation, said the ED official.
He said Manchanda had confessed to making hawala transactions on Kahlon's behalf and efforts were on to identify the receivers of the money abroad.
For making hawala transactions for the drugs, Manchanda used to charge 15-20% as commission, said the ED official, pointing out that Manchanda had also been arrested for money laundering in 2010.
He said the drugs were first brought to England from Holland and then transported to Mumbai and Delhi before being smuggled into Punjab. "We are looking into the local connections of Manchanda. We are holding detailed investigations to break the nexus between hawala operators and drug peddlers," he said.