A joint team of Delhi Police and income tax department officials raided a hotel in central Delhi’s Karol Bagh area and caught five men with scrapped banknotes worth Rs 3.5 crore on Tuesday night.
Ravindra Yadav, joint commissioner of police (crime branch), said the raid was conducted at Hotel Taksh Inn at Chennai Market in Karol Bagh, a popular market area, based on a tip-off.
“On search of room numbers 202 and 206, five men were caught with suitcases and cardboards that contained demonetised Indian currency notes worth Rs 3.5 crore,” Yadav said.
The seized money belonged to some Mumbai-based Hawala operators, said police.
The five have been identified as Ansari Abuzar, Fazal Khan, Ansari Affan, Ladu Ram, and Mahavir Singh. Police said expect Ram and Singh, who are from Rajasthan, the other three belong to Mumbai.
During the interrogation, the five men said they were carriers working for hawala operators based in Delhi, Mumbai and other big cities. They claimed that they are specialists in the packaging banknotes.
These packaging specialists pack banknotes in such a manner that the packets do not get detected at scanning machines at airports. They use special tapes and wires that easily pass through X-ray machines undetected.
“Hawala operators hire them for packaging of currency notes that are later transported to other cities via flights, trains or road routes,” a senior crime branch official said.
Income tax officials were analysing the mobile phone details of the five men and have found phone numbers of other hawala operators. I-T officials were questioning them to establish the source of the money and understand their modus operandi.
Tuesday night’s raid was the second such raid by the crime branch in Delhi since Saturday. In the previous raid at a law firm office in south Delhi’s Greater Kailash, officials recovered over Rs 13.5 crore, both in old and new banknotes that were stashed in almirahs and cupboards in two rooms.