A Jet Airways crew member Deveshi Kulshreshtha was allegedly hand in gloves with a hawala operator Amit Malhotra for laundering thousands of dollars out of the country, the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence said on Monday. The duo were arrested by the DRI and have been sent to two-day judicial custody. At the time of her arrest, Kulshreshtha was carrying $480,200, which roughly amounts to Rs 3.2 crore.
So who is Deveshi Kulshreshtha?
Married a year ago, Kulshreshtha, 25, lives with her husband who is employed at an online job portal. DRI investigation revealed that the woman had recently booked a 3 BHK flat in Noida and had paid 30 per cent of the money in advance. Her husband had no idea about her extra source of income, sources told The Indian Express. “It came to light that she has two separate bank accounts. Malhotra would always give her cash, and she would deposit it in her second account, opened recently. Around Rs 2 lakh was found in her new account. Her husband told investigators he was not aware of her extra income,” sources said.
A Jet Airways spokesperson said that during the DRI team inspection, a large sum of foreign currency was recovered from their employee. “The employee has been taken into custody. Based on the investigations and inputs from law enforcement agencies, the airline will take further action. Jet Airways has a strict code of conduct and zero tolerance towards any action of its employees that contravenes domestic or international laws of the countries in which it operates,” he said.
What do we know about the alleged hawala operator?
Kulshreshtha met Malhotra on a New Delhi-Hong Kong Jet Airways flight in August 2017. The 47-year-old, who operates a tour and travel business in Vivek Vihar, is believed to have made the proposition to Kulshreshtha then. “Malhotra had a conversation with her for about two-three minutes and later met her outside IGI Airport. He struck a deal with her and told her he would pay her Re 1 for every dollar she helped launder,” sources told The Indian Express adding that DRI raided his east Delhi house and recovered Rs 3.3 lakh in Indian currency and $2,500. Officials are probing if Malhotra was in touch with Delhi businessmen for converting their black money into white. Read more here.
Malhotra was allegedly giving Kulshreshtha lesser money than promised. He paid her Rs 1 lakh even though she was allegedly being made to carry $480,200. She realised she had been lied to only after the DRI arrested her.
How was the money was smuggled out of the country?
According to DRI, one of the methods included wrapping the money in aluminium foil to avoid detection.“She allegedly used to wrap the money in aluminum foil so it would not be caught in the scanner. After reaching Hong Kong, someone would meet her in the hotel and collect the money,” an officer told The Indian Express.
While she smuggled $50,000 on her first trip, the amount had increased $480,200 on her last trip. DRI sources said Kulshreshtha had made seven trips in around five months.