The income tax raid on former Jharkhand chief minister and MP Madhu Koda has lead to the unearthing of a huge hawala (illegal transfer of money) racket in Mumbai.
The Mumbai income tax (I-T) team that conducted raids on eight places in the city to assist their Jharkhand counterparts, found three bank accounts that were used by three alleged hawala operators.
On checking the details, the I-T Department found accounts showing transactions of Rs 1,500 crore in two years. Hawala operators Manoj Punamiya, Arvind Vyas and Lalit Jain operated the accounts. I-T officials in Mumbai and Ranchi said cheques or cash were deposited in these accounts and the money was withdrawn within a day or two through cheques.
One of these accounts showed deposits of Rs 300 crore through cash in the last two years.
Officials believe that the transactions do not belong to Koda alone and many more people, including some from Mumbai, were using these accounts to safely transfer their unaccounted money. The I-T Department has also involved the Enforcement Directorate in the investigation because of the hawala angle.
A Mumbai I-T official said, requesting anonymity, that they raided the hawala operators on information that Binod Sinha, a close associate of Koda, was transferring the MP’s unaccounted money to Mumbai and Kolkata.
He added that the department would now check these accounts to find out from where all the money came and where it went.