The Enforcement Directorate (ED) Thursday carried out searches at the premises of meat exporter Moin Qureshi and questioned him and two of his employees as part of its probe into alleged payments made by him abroad using hawala channels.
“We searched five premises of the meat exporter, including in Defence Colony and Chattarpur, and two other premises of hawala operators located in Turkman Gate and Greater Kailash,” said an agency source, adding, “We recovered several incriminating articles, including documents and cyber data, which are being analysed.”
The central agency tasked with tracking money laundering and probing foreign exchange violations also questioned the two city-based hawala operators.
It may examine all concerned parties again if required, said the source.
Qureshi’s premises were searched in February last year too, by the income tax department, on suspicion that his firms were under-reporting turnovers. The agency had then launched an investigation against him for alleged evasion of tax worth R200 crore. His alleged contacts with a few senior bureaucrats, serving and retired, had also come under public gaze following the I-T investigation.
After receiving documents from the I-T department indicating alleged Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) violations by Qureshi and his Delhi-based business entities, the ED last month lodged a case against him, as reported by HT on January 23.
It is verifying allegations that Qureshi remitted around R100 crore outside India, including to Europe, through trade associates in Hong Kong and Dubai with the help of Delhi-based hawala operators, said the source.
The ED is examining allegations that the payments were primarily made to settle the expenses of Qureshi and his family — for hotel stays and shopping trips abroad and payments to a French architect for designing a posh residence in Chattarpur, among other things.
It is also probing whether alleged “intelligence channels” were accessed to facilitate the making of irregular remittances, said the source.