The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) blew the lid off a money laundering scam in which an import-export code (IEC) of an Indore-based company was used by others to import goods and deposit money in the firm’s bank accounts, which was then remitted to foreign countries, investigation agency officials said.
The company, Messers RD Impex, received deposits worth Rs 75 crore, of which Rs 59 crore was remitted to foreign shores, DRI’s preliminary inquiry revealed. The company operates accounts in Indore branches of over half a dozen private and public sector banks.
The DRI acted on the basis of suspicious transaction reports sent from banks whose branches in Indore operated the company’s accounts. DRI got bank statements and foreign remittance details for probe, which revealed that some bills of entry submitted in local branches were fake as they did not show the correct IEC.
After completing the inquiry last month, the DRI’s Mumbai zonal unit sent the report to the Financial Intelligence Unit (under union finance ministry), Enforcement Directorate and the Reserve Bank of India for further investigation and action.
“This is not only happening in Indore but also in Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata and other parts of the country. It is obvious that some bank officials were hand-in-glove with scamsters,” a senior DRI official told HT over phone from Mumbai.
“A basic review would have revealed the scam, but it appears that bank officials didn’t bother to cross-check money transfers,” the official said on Monday, requesting anonymity.
According to information, M/s RD Impex, a proprietory concern headed by Navneet Hardia, is engaged in import business. His IEC was used by a Mumbai resident Babu Bhai to import six consignments.
The consignments were cleared by customs broker of a shipping agency at Nhava Sheva Port, Mumbai. One consignment was imported using his IEC by Shivam Marketing partner Gaurav Kushwah through customs broker of an Indore-based cargo company.
Money was transferred to Hardia/RD Impex’s bank accounts through Real Time Gross Settlement (a system which lets individuals and companies transfer between two banks without the country) and National Electric Fund Transfer.
When interrogated, Navneet Hardia and Gaurav Kushwah denied their involvement in the matter. They told DRI that their identity and documents were misused. Babu Bhai is untraceable. Hardia and Kushwah did not respond to phone calls made by Hindustan Times. Hardia did not respond to HT’s SMS either. Further inquiry is underway in this case.
MORE HAWALA TRANSACTIONS
The DRI has come across hawala transactions in Indore about which the inquiry is still on.
It has been revealed that people whose identities were stolen have no idea about the fraud as they are ordinary people such as office peons, roadside vendors and sweepers.
Their bank accounts are used to transfer money to bogus companies located in India and abroad, officials said.