ED detains 5 in Kerala for dealing in Rs 300-crore 'hawala' transactions

07:39 PM Sep 05, 2023 | PTI |

New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Tuesday said it has detained and sent to jail five people in Kerala for their alleged involvement in international ”hawala” dealings to the tune of more than Rs 300 crore.


An order under the Conservation of Foreign Exchange and Prevention of Smuggling Activities Act (COFEPOSA), 1974 was issued on September 3 against V S Suresh Babu of Kottayam, A K Shaji alias Payasam Shaji, Mohammed Shibu, Mohammed Shiju of Ettumanoor and Siraj V Essakhan of Ernakulam, the federal agency said in a statement.

It said it was ”established” that these people were involved in high-volume international ”hawala” operations in contravention of the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA), running into more than Rs 300 crore over the last several years.

The detenues have been sent to the central prison and a correctional home in state capital Thiruvananthapuram, the ED said.

”Hawala” denotes illegal and fraudulent KYC-based monetary transactions through both banking and non-banking channels.


The ED had conducted searches at 14 locations in the southern state in connection with the case on June 19.

The raids were carried out against entities allegedly undertaking hawala transactions in the guise of foreign exchange or money exchange and running gift shops, textile, jewellery and ready-made garment outlets, it said.

Foreign currencies of more than 15 countries worth Rs 4 crore were seized during the searches.

”On the basis of the material seized, including digital records, it was established that the suspects indulged in illegal forex dealings without taking KYC or issuing bills,” the ED has alleged.


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