Kolkata: Stepping up pressure on underworld don Dawood Ibrahim, the Income Tax officials on Thursday unearthed Rs 100-crore hawala racket in Kolkata, West Bengal.
According to Daily Mail, Dawood's D-Company is suspected of having a role in the racket. The 60 sacks of Indian currency seized by the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) was meant to be transferred to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), said an initial probe.
The raids were conducted on the basis of inputs provided by the Intelligence Bureau (IB). It is estimated that more than Rs 50 crore has already been accounted for.
Daily Mail quoted sources as saying that the modus operandi suggested the money laundering group has ties with Dawood Ibrahim, who is hiding in Pakistan.
“All such money laundering syndicates which route money to UAE or Saudi Arabia have links with D-Company,” said an intelligence official.
Sources further claimed that the money was generated through lottery schemes in Tamil Nadu and West Bengal, and kingpins from the two states are involved in the racket that has links with the underworld.
Not only this, intelligence agencies have zeroed in five businessmen who are said to be the kingpins of the international money laundering syndicate.
“Their business enterprises are a front for money laundering. Their links in the UAE and D-Company are being investigated. They run small businesses, but the real objective is money laundering,” the intelligence official said.
Sources said the money laundering network is being controlled from Pakistan through fraudulent lottery schemes which dupe people across India.
The IB has submitted a report to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) in which it was said that the swindle is estimated to be over Rs 4,000 crore as the money is routed to Pakistan through hawala channels via Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
The fraudsters, based in Pakistan, ask their Indian agents to trap gullible people by informing them that they have won lotteries. The victims are then provided with a bank account number and asked to deposit processing charges to claim the lottery amount. Once the money is deposited, Indian agents withdraw the amount and send it through hawala to Pakistan via Saudi Arabia and UAE.
A number of companies have been raided on suspicion of being part of the international money laundering gang.
Intelligence agencies have tracked 1,162 bank accounts that have been used by the syndicate.