ED attaches Rs 10-cr assets in Surat hawala scam case

New Delhi, Jan 17 () Assets worth about Rs 10 crore of a Mumbai-based businessman have been attached in connection with the multi-crore hawala and money laundering case of Surat in Gujarat, the ED said on Friday.

It said a housing complex named 'Rasool Manzil' and land, two flats (each measuring 480 sq feets) in Maharashtra's capital city and a plot of land located in Godsai village in Raigad district of businessman Abdul Karim Jaka have been provisionally attached under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

The total value of the attached properties is Rs 9.50 crore.

The case pertains to over Rs 5,395 crore hawala funds being sent as alleged illegal outward remittances on the basis of import documents or fake bills of entry through an ICICI Bank branch in Surat.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) had filed a criminal complaint under PMLA after studying a 2014 FIR of Surat Police crime branch.

The central agency, in March 2014, had busted a multi-crore hawala racket after searches at offices of some diamond traders in Surat, including Afroz Fatta and Madanlal Jain.

It was alleged that instead of importing diamonds, the duo made bogus import bills, claiming that they have purchased the diamonds from foreign traders.

Using these bills, it was alleged, that the duo used to transfer money through their bank accounts. Thus, money went outside without a single diamond being imported in India, the agency had found.

Fatta, Jain and a firm called R A Distributors along with others are accused in the case that is being probed under the anti-money laundering law by the ED.

Probe found that nine companies having accounts in ICICI Bank, Surat, had remitted huge amounts of money on the basis of forged bills of entry to three companies in UAE and 15 companies in Hong Kong.

"The main source of credits in these accounts are from entities like Vandana and Co, Natural Trading Co, Maruti Trading among others," the ED said in a statement.

Afroz Fatta, Madanlal Jain, Bilal Haroon Gilani, Jayesh Desai and Rakesh Kothari were involved in creating these "shell companies" using dummy persons as directors or partners, it said.

It said the main accused Fatta had "routed illegally earned commission in fraudulent transactions of foreign remittances in the guise of imports to the bank accounts of Jaka, a Mumbai-based businessman dealing in real estate and ship-breaking business, to the tune of Rs 9.5 crore who in turn placed the same in his group companies."

Fatta, Jain and others were arrested by the ED and it has also filed five chargesheets in this case in the past.

Probe in the case in ongoing, it said. NES RCJ RCJ
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