The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Dubai stink in hawala racket

New Delhi, March 3: At a time when the CBI is seeking deportation of underworld dons from the United Arab Emirates, the enforcement directorate has its own Dubai link to probe, following the expose of hawala transactions of nearly Rs 2 crore in south India.

The directorate recently raided hawala dealer Beeran Kutty’s house in Venkatesh Nagar of Chennai, on a tip-off that hawala money originating in Dubai has come into Tamil Nadu. The sleuths recovered Rs 72 lakh in cash, a currency-counting machine and incriminating documents from Kutty’s house.

During interrogation, Kutty revealed that he had been receiving money from Dubai and had been passing it on to C.K. Mustaffa, a resident of Kerala’s Malapuram district.

Kutty confessed to have given to Mustaffa, on Dubai’s directions, more than Rs 96 crore in the last four months, directorate sources said.

Kutty disclosed that he was routing the money to Mustaffa through his associates, who would drive to Malapuram to hand over the consignment.

Based on this information, the sleuths tipped off the local police and a car was intercepted on way to Kerala. Rs 75 lakh was recovered from a cavity in the car.

The directorate also combed Mustaffa’s house in search of more evidence on the Dubai-south India hawala nexus. Directorate sources have described the seized money as “compensatory payments” from local people.

Investigations have revealed that a person codenamed Sharief has been sending money through hawala to Chennai. The directorate has approached the Indian high commission in the UAE to identify the names and telephone numbers that have cropped up during the probe.

Sources suspect that Sharief could have links with the underworld or may be a hawala dealer who has been sending money to the families of Indian expatriates working there. Many Indians working in the UAE are south Indians.

The two have been charged under various sections of the Foreign Exchange Management Act, which has replaced the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act.

Under Fema, the sleuths are devoid of powers to arrest and can issue only summons to offenders of law. And, once charges are proved, penalties to the tune of five times of the foreign exchange violation can be slapped.

This is 62nd case directorate registered under Fema since December.

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