The Enforcement Directorate (ED) raided at least four bullion firms in Zaveri Bazaar and nearby areas in Mumbai and froze two bank accounts in different branches of banks in connection with laundering of the scrapped currency of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes, official sources told The Indian Express.
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The ED raids that began on Friday and continued on Saturday found that at least one of the accounts frozen by it is allegedly “controlled” by a hawala operator accused in the multi-crore money-laundering case involving former Jharkhand Chief Minister Madhu Koda, said ED officials. The funds under the scanner of the ED is over Rs 69 crore, said sources.
Old notes were transferred to bullion firms, which used to provide accommodation entries after demonetisation on November 9, said ED sources.
Typically, entry operators provide accommodation entries by accepting cash in exchange for cheques or demand drafts given as share capital, loans or advances and therefore facilitate laundering of large sums of money for a small commission.
Since 2009, Koda and some of his associates are being probed by the ED for allegedly making illegal investments and transactions by corrupt means, siphoning off funds and laundering over Rs 2,500 crore when he was the chief minister.
To check financial crimes post demonetisation, the ED has launched an “enquiry of records” operation at over 50 bank branches across the country to detect money-laundering and hawala dealing through these channels.
The agency had also conducted searches at 40 locations across the country on November 30, to check black money held with currency exchanges, hawala dealers and others.