The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Monday arrested Kritika Dahal, owner of a Hong Kong-based firm International Rising in connection with a Rs 1,438 crore money laundering case registered against a city-based diamond import firm Rajeshwar Exports Pvt Ltd after demonetisation on November 8, 2016, said ED sources.
An ED investigation, following demonetisation has found that in the last one year Rajeshwar Exports used over 500 benami bank accounts of shell companies to route Rs 1,438 crore to itself through the Real Time Gross Settlement or RTGS. The diamond firm then illegally transferred this money to two foreign firms including International Rising in Hong Kong. Dahal’s firm International Rising , according to top ED sources, is a one-person company which has received a significant portion of money in the last one year from Rajeshwar Exports in contravention of Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
“Dahal is the sole owner and employee of International Rising which has received the money remitted from India by the diamond firm. She also facilitated opening of bank accounts, the agency suspects that International Rising is just a front to launder money,” said an ED source.
Dahal who was arrested in Mumbai, according to ED sources did not co-operate with the money laundering probe earlier. “We had earlier summoned her and recorded her statements but she did not co-operate with the probe. So she was arrested while she was returning from Hong Kong ,” the ED source said.
The case of Rajeshwar Exports alleged illegal act came under the lens of agencies after it found deposits of Rs 10 crore in the account of a shell company post note ban. The money trail then led to nine other firms with a deposit of Rs 45 crore in currency notes which were withdrawn. The ED found that the deposited money was transferred to Rajeshwar Exports through a complex web of transactions between these shell firms. “Using this modus operandi the company has transferred Rs 120 crore between November 8 and December 31, 2016,” said an ED source.