ED attaches asset in international drugs money laundering case

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday attached a house, valued at Rs 1.65 crore, in Punjab in connection with international narcotics money laundering case.

New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday attached a house, valued at Rs 1.65 crore, in Punjab in connection with international narcotics money laundering case.

Under criminal provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), the agency said, it has attached a residential house in Amritsar which belonged to the "accused Gagandeep and Paramdeep" as part of an overseas drug racket crime, which it is probing alongwith Australian authorities.

ED had collaborated with Australian Federal Police (AFP) for the first time to crack an overseas drugs money laundering network. Both the agencies carried out simultaneous searches against the accused in September last in their respective countries.

The attachments have been made, sources said, as the agency found this house to be the "proceeds of crime" of the alleged illegal drugs network.

The estimated value of the house is Rs 1.65 crore, they added.

The agency, after the searches in September, had arrested three alleged hawala operatives including brothers Gagandeep and Paramdeep and seized Rs 78 lakh in cash.

While nine locations in Delhi and Amritsar were raided the AFP carried out similar operations in Clearview and Ingle Farm, Lyndhurst, Templestowe, St Albans, Thomastown and East Melbourne (Victoria) among others.

The third Indian accused Gaurav Gupta was arrested by the agency from Delhi in this case, while Australian authorities also nabbed two people and had seized 73,000 Australian dollar.

The two agencies suspect that the accused have allegedly been running a "trade-based" money laundering racket across the globe and were allegedly generating crores of rupees through drugs trade using illegal payment gateways to route the black money and its proceeds.

Before booking the three people, ED also reviewed FIRs registered against the suspects by Punjab Police and other anti-drugs agencies under Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (NDPS).

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