The US Homeland Security has approached India for joining the investigation against an NRI businessman after the Enforcement Directorate (ED) charged him with running “one of the world's biggest hawala networks”.
“Homeland Security officials, who had been tracking NRI Naresh Chandra Jain’s activities and his alleged links with the underworld and terror groups, are coming to India to join the probe,” said a senior ED official who did not want to be identified as he is not authorised to speak to the media.
The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, the Delhi police and various security agencies have been informed about seizures of incriminating documents from Jain’s premises by the ED. They will also be investigating his role, he added.
Hawala is an illegal global banking system by which money is transferred across countries.
The ED comes under the revenue department of the Union finance ministry and looks at violations of the country's foreign exchange norms.
Jain on Friday had denied allegations of his involvement in hawala transactions. He said he was a businessman and was being framed.
The ED has, meanwhile, issued look-out notice against Jain, who has not been arrested so far, and his two brothers — Bimal Jain and Satpal Jain — so as to prevent them from fleeing the country. The agency is also exploring the possibility of slapping money-laundering charges against them.
During the raids conducted on Thursday, the ED had recovered incriminating foreign bank records as well as property documents. It said Jain’s network was spread over many countries including Pakistan and Dubai, with 30-odd firms working as front companies.
In and around Delhi, Jain has invested over Rs 100 crore
(Rs 1 billion) in properties while documents recovered from him showed that he received Rs 150 crore (Rs 1.5 billion) as brokerage in just one case, the directorate added.
“During interrogation, Jain claimed he lost his passport while coming to India via Nepal. We’ll soon be approaching the Nepal government to find out when and how he went to Nepal,” the ED official said.