Now, DRI to probe Koda’s contacts in city | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Now, DRI to probe Koda’s contacts in city

mumbai Updated: Nov 11, 2009 01:03 IST
Manish Pachouly

Mumbai-based Balaji Group, being probed for allegedly handling Rs 1,500 crore belonging to former Jharkhand chief minister Madhu Koda, is now under the scanner of the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI).

The DRI has been roped in after the income tax (I-T) and Enforcement Directorate (ED) found that the company had, in books of accounts, shown payments and earnings for import and export of bullion and diamonds.

The agencies suspect that the import and export could be a cover-up to transfer Koda’s money through hawala (illegal way to transfer money).

“The DRI is being roped in to verify if indeed there were any imports and exports or they were only on paper to transfer the money illegally,” said an ED official from Delhi requesting anonymity because he is not authorised to speak to the media.

He added that most imports and exports were of gold, diamonds and jewellery.

The DRI would first find out how many import-export codes (IEC) were used by the Balaji Group. The IEC, provided by the government, is necessary for foreign trade. “We will also investigate if the company was using its own IEC or somebody else’s,” a DRI official said, requesting anonymity.

Investigators suspect that the company was using shipping bills [for exports] and bills of entries [for imports] to transfer Koda’s unaccounted for money through hawala.

The DRI will investigate whether the bills of entries and shipping bills were genuine.

“If they turn out to be forged then there is a straight case, but if the company had shown some import and export then there would be lot to investigate,” the DRI official said.

The official said that if there were imports, there would have to be investigations into whether genuine material was involved. He said that to transfer money through hawala, sometimes sub standard material is passed off as gold.

The official said that hawala operators take cash from a person here and to transfer the same abroad, import of gold is shown in books of accounts.

The import is made from a dummy company floated abroad by the person who gives the cash to be transferred. The payment is made by one of the companies floated by the hawala operator here.

Exports are used to transfer funds for sale of diamonds or jewellery to a client abroad. “The hawala operator’s firm would show exports of diamond or diamond jewellery to its client on credit,” the official said.

This way, the diamond or jewellery would reach the destination the client chooses without any payment.

Even if payment is to be shown at a later stage, it is done by the import modus operandi.