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Mirchi hawala ring: ED approaches multiple countries for help

New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has approached over six countries including UAE and the UK as part of its probe into suspected terror funding and hawala operations of late Iqbal Mirchi, a longtime associate of fugitive Pakistan-based don Dawood Ibrahim.

The agency, which has recently launched a multi-level probe into the Rs 3,000 crore slush funds ring, has already issued notices to two sons and the widow of Mirchi, his relatives, lawyers and business associates in connection with its investigation conducted under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA).

Sources privy to the development said ED has made official communications to these countries as Mirchi and his alleged illegal business operations were being conducted from these locations and there exists a “trail of documents, bank accounts and financial transactions”.

Among the other countries to which communications have been sent include Cyprus, Turkey, Spain and Morocco.

The sources said the agency has sought all “available documents and material” from these nations which are related to Mirchi and other suspects it has identified in this probe.

The agency, under FEMA provisions, has also contacted the RBI to obtain dossiers on Mirchi and his associates’ business and banking operations in India.

Mirchi, who died in 2013 in the UK, is suspected to have laundered and moved funds through the hawala (illegal way of sending money by skirting official banking channels) route to purchase a host of properties in at least 10 or more countries with the help of his associates.

The agency had earlier also written to the Mumbai police Crime Branch, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and the Maharashtra land records authorities seeking their cooperation in a this probe that involves about 50 tainted assets in over 10 countries, a clutch of about 40 firms in the country and abroad and a maze of at least 20 bank accounts in India and some private banks overseas.

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