The Enforcement Directorate on Thursday nabbed two more accused—it has arrested seven so far —for their alleged role in the scam involving illegal forex transactions worth Rs 6,000 crore linked to 59 accounts of a Bank of Baroda (BoB) branch.
The two businessmen, Varun Bhatia and Gaurav Bhatia, were later presented before a city special court that remanded them to ED’s custody till March 1.
The two accused had allegedly played a part in irregularities associated with transfer of Rs 6, 000 crore in foreign exchange through a city-based BoB branch to 350-odd overseas bank accounts located in Hong Kong and Dubai.
Since last October, ED has arrested seven accused persons in all, who were allegedly orchestrating transactions linked to around 20 of the 59 accounts under the scanner.
The ED had earlier nabbed members of two “modules” comprising traders and middlemen, who owned two Hong Kong-based firms. The accused were remitting funds abroad illegally as advances against non-existent imports.
The forex transactions, which were circuitous in nature and run with the help of aides and shell firms, were carried out as part of a conspiracy hatched by groups of traders and middlemen to benefit from fraudulent over-valuation of exports and under-valuation of imports, said an ED source.
The “trade-based money- laundering” had in fact allegedly turned out to be cheaper than the conventional money - laundering carried out via non-banking channels, said the source.
In a separate probe into the irregularities, the CBI has chargesheeted two BoB
officials and has taken under its scanner 10 more public-sector banks, where similar transactions amid lack of due diligence was noticed.