Rs 3.25 crore in old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes was recovered from a hotel in Karol Bagh late Tuesday night, in a joint raid by the Delhi Police Crime Branch and the Income Tax department. Five people were arrested from the spot.
Police said the accused routinely took old notes to Mumbai to “convert it into new money”.
According to police, the cash would be wrapped in newspapers and then stuck to the bottom of trolley bags or suitcases using tapes and adhesives.
The bundles would also be covered with black cloth and spiral telephone or internet cables so that baggage detectors at the airport could not detect the cash.
Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Ravindra Yadav said the money was meant to be delivered to two Mumbai-based hawala operators, Lalit Bhai and Bholu Bhai.
“The arrested accused worked as delivery agents and would get a cut for every delivery,” said Yadav.
The raid was conducted after a Delhi Police head constable received a tip-off that “cash was being moved” at Karol Bagh’s Hotel Taksh Inn.
“It was also found that some people from Mumbai and Rajasthan made regular visits to the capital to convert black money into white. This was done with the help of some Karol Bagh-based hawala operators, who would take the cash to Mumbai and get it converted,” said Yadav.
Yadav said a team of I-T officials, led by deputy director Abhishek Anand, was asked to join the operations. The cash has been seized by the I-T department.
He said that five people — Ansari Affan and Fazal Kausar Khan from Delhi, Ansari Abuzar from Mumbai, and Ladu Ram and Mahaveer Singh from Rajasthan — were arrested from room numbers 106, 202 and 206 of the hotel.
Four suitcases and a cardboard carton containing demonetised currency were recovered.
During interrogation, it was found that the set-up was headed by Mumbai-based hawala operators Lalit Bhai and Bholu Bhai, who would collect black money from across the country and convert it to white — after taking a sizeable cut.
Police said that several Delhi-based hawala operators were also involved in routing the money to Mumbai.
Police said Affan led the group of men arrested from the hotel, and had recruited youths from his neighbourhood to help him.
Khan was responsible for delivering the cash to various agents, while Abuzar, Ram and Singh helped Affan count money and make bundles. Each of them received Rs 2,000 per day from Affan.
The group carried pocket weighing scales to ensure that bags to be take to Mumbai did not cross the permissible weight limit. After the cash was collected, tickets to Mumbai would be booked at the last minute.