The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday raided premises of Kashmir’s Al Khuddam business group in Srinagar over alleged hawala transactions. Sources said that the raids were conducted in connection with investigations into a 2014 case under Foreign Exchange Management Act involving crores.
The group conducts pilgrimage services besides handicraft exports business. The group’s owner is considered close to politicians of the ruling People’s Democratic Party including some cabinet ministers.
A ED officer told The Indian Express that the raids were conducted in connection with export outstanding and the alleged hawala transactions. “More details cannot be divulged as it could hamper investigations,” he said.
Al Khuddam Director Sheikh Ashiq called the raids routine. “For business groups, which are in export business, it is a routine exercise and our group will come clean after investigations. We are cooperating with the ED officials.” Ashiq said that they had been issued a notice over some excess payments related to their business in 2014. “Our group was in correspondence with ED officials. So it was a routine exercise. Since we live in Kashmir everything, even a visit by ED officials at our offices, becomes a big issue.”
The National Investigation Agency and ED have conducted raids on premises of businessmen and separatist leaders allegedly over hawala transactions over the last three months.