ED may probe travel agents’ links with hawala transaction

  • Gurpreet Singh Chhina, Hindustan Times, Fatehgarh Sahib
  • Updated: May 12, 2014 00:53 IST

After establishing links of certain travel agents with the hawala transactions in an extortion case, the Fatehgarh Sahib police have requested the enforcement directorate (ED) to investigate the case as recently the local police found that the travel agents used a Ludhiana-based hawala agent for transferring money from Punjab to Bihar. The trend was noticed when the police arrested three persons in a case of cheating on the pretext of sending them youth to Canada.

The police have also learnt that the youths (aspirants for Canada green pastures) were detained in a forest area of Bihar where the accused asked them to call their parents to confirm that they had reached Canada. After that the parents of the five youths were forced to pay `80 lakh to travel agent through hawala transaction ( ` 16 lakh each).

The police claimed that it was more or less extortion as they detained the youths to get money from their parents on the pretext of settling them in Canada whereas in reality, they were in India and detained in the forest area of Bihar.

Following a complaint, the police arrested travel agent Daljit Singh Malwa, a resident of the district and Kiran Kumar, resident of Ludhiana who was dealing in hawala transaction. Both were arrested on March 28 while the third accused Gurnam Singh, a travel agent and a resident of village Bhadalboha of Amloh was arrested on April 1.

Another accused Pawan Rai Gandhi, resident of Bihar is still at large. The police arrested them on charges of cheating and criminal conspiracy.
The DSP Khamano Ramandeep Singh said that the accused had promised five youth - Surjeet Singh (24), Amandeep Singh (35) and Vikram Singh (37) all residents of the district along with their other two friends- for sending them to Canada.

Claiming that the case is fit for an ED probe as money was transferred through hawala transaction, the SSP Fatehgarh Sahib, Gurmit Singh Chauhan said that the case came to light when one of the victims, Vikram Singh, managed to escape from the clutches of the kidnappers and called his parents informing that they were detained in a forest area of Bihar. Then his parents went there to bring them back.

The SSP further added that after bringing them back, the victims’ parents had approached the police and then police nabbed the accused one by one. The police are still investigating the matter to trace the kidnappers who detained them to extort money from their parents.

The SSP also said that the police team had also raided a place in Bihar where they were detained. A case had also been registered in Bihar.

DSP Khamano Ramandeep Singh told HT that the youth came in contact with Gurnam Singh, a travel agent. He further contacted another travel agent who took them to Bihar where they had detained them.

The DSP also said that the accused took them to Bihar by saying that there was strictness at the Delhi airport and they would get a flight from the Patna airport ( which is a domestic airport) and on the way, they were detained in Bihar.

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