Hawala money worth Rs 3.5 crore from illegal sale of tobacco products seized in Pune
The Pune police conducted day-long raids at five shops located in two buildings in Faraskhana and Vishrambaug areas of Pune on Wednesday and seized around Rs 3.5 crore hawala cash gained from illegal sale of tobacco and related products.
Four shops were located in one building and one in another building, according to the police.
The police have seized Rs 3, 47, 37,920 in cash, nine mobile phones, two DVR, two machines used for counting of money from five places.
“So far there have been nine arrests and further investigation is going on,” said Bachchan Singh, deputy commissioner of police, crime, Pune.
The raid was led by Priyanka Narnavare, deputy commissioner of police, Zone-1, Pune and conducted by senior police inspector Rajnish Nirmal of Unit 4 of Pune police crime branch.
The officials, who were not allowed access to their phones to prevent leaks, were searching the spaces from 7am until 10pm on Wednesday.
On November 16, based on information received by the newly appointed senior police inspector Nirmal, raids were conducted on a shop in Kharadi near old Sai Baba Temple, according to a statement issued by the city police.
The shop, identified as Mataji general stores, was allegedly into smuggling by evading payment of custom duty even when the sale of tobacco and related products is not allowed in the light of Covid-19 pandemic. Five men were arrested and the seizure includes Rs 1, 31,340 cash, tobacco and products worth Rs 3, 92,512, two cars, and one two-wheeler.
While investigating the involvement of these five men, the police found that the person facilitating the transport of products without paying customs duty. The man was identified as Navnath Nadev Kalbhor who led the police to the hawala payment method used by the arrested men.
Prima facie, the police suspect the nine arrested to be involved only in the money transfer part and not the sale.