The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Wednesday seized 10kg gold worth Rs 2.6 crore after digging up the lawn of a house on the posh Race Course Road here, following a tip-off.
The house belongs to Gagandeep Singh Arora and Paramdeep Singh Arora, the two brothers lodged in jail since September last year in an alleged money-laundering racket.
ED sources said the two had been arrested following a first-of-its-kind collaborative operation conducted by agencies from Australia, the UK, India and the US, unearthing an international money-laundering racket. The two were in the mobile trading and money exchange business, ED sources said.
As part of the operation Zanella, while agencies of the other countries effected seizures and arrests in their respective countries; the ED arrested the two, along with Delhi resident Gaurav Gupta, during raids in Amritsar and New Delhi. The ED had then recovered Rs 78 lakh from the trio.
Following the tip-off that the brothers had hidden gold in the house, a four-member ED team reached the house in the evening and started a search operation. It continued for hours as the ED officials got a lawn in the house dug up and found 10 bricks of gold, weighing 1kg each.
The operation was kept a secret. Though, the local police, including Civil Lines SHO Sukhwinder Randhawa and Majitha Road SHO Gagandeep Singh, went to the house, they were not part of the search operation. A few family members present there left the house after the ED sealed it.
ED sources said they had initially swooped down on the brothers following leads given by the Australian Federal Police last year. "Searches at nine different places had taken place in Amritsar and Delhi leading to recovery of sophisticated electronic devices, allegedly used for money laundering besides the incriminating documents," ED sources said.
ED's investigations had revealed that the brothers were allegedly laundering "drug money" through a Hong Kong-based agent to the US. According to the ED, the brothers were earlier booked by the Punjab police on charges of smuggling of narcotics from Pakistan in the garb of importing sugar.