|Modi with alleged
hawala operator Afroz
Fatta (circled in picture)
New Delhi, April 28: The Congress today accused Narendra Modi of links with an alleged hawala operator and gold smuggler, a day after the BJP had released a booklet and video targeting land purchases by Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law Robert Vadra.
The Congress released more than a dozen photographs showing Modi with Afroz Fatta, a known BJP supporter now in police custody after the Enforcement Directorate of Ahmedabad and Surat unearthed a hawala racket.
The racket is estimated to be worth Rs 700 crore but could go up to Rs 5,000 crore, Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said.
Today’s attack suggests the two parties are gearing for a no-holds-barred war. The photographs show Fatta being felicitated by Modi and attending events and meetings at the chief minister’s office with top Gujarat minister Anandiben Patel and senior BJP leader Shahnawaz Hussein.
Surjewala said these photographs had been displayed on the BJP website and Modi’s personal website, and that Fatta was known to be close to the Gujarat chief minister.
When some reporters asked for evidence, Surjewala said: “That’s why we are demanding an inquiry. Will Modi agree to submit himself to an independent probe by an agency outside Gujarat to determine his connection or absence thereof to this hawala racket of huge magnitude?”
He insisted that nobody could represent India (Modi is a prime ministerial aspirant) while facing these kinds of charges.
“What is the nature of the relationship Modi has with hawala kingpin Fatta? Whose money, running into a thousand crore or more, was being transmitted through hawala, and in what shape and what purpose was this money being brought back to India and put to what use?” Surjewala asked.
That such a huge racket was being run under the nose of the Gujarat government shows either complicity or indifference, Surjewala said. He demanded that Modi tell the nation why Gujarat’s land was allowed to be used for such a purpose.
Purportedly quoting Enforcement Directorate officials, Surjewala said: “The racket was unearthed on March 22, 2014, during a raid on Fatta’s residence in Surat. The modus operandi was simple. Fake import and export documents were being shown for diamond consignments that never took place.
“These transactions were being done through private banks in Surat and the money was being transmitted to Hong Kong and Dubai. The money was used for buying gold there and then it was smuggled into India.”
Surjewala added: “On March 28, four shooters of underworld don Bablu Srivastava shot Amzad Dalal, brother of Afzal Dalal, who is a partner of Afroz Fatta. They mistook him for Fatta. According to police, Fatta is also getting threatening calls from an Estonian number (+3726868097) from north Europe for an extortion demand of Rs 150 crore.
“All these expose a hawala racket with deep underworld links. Police officials suspect Fatta was being supported by an organised group in India.”
Surjewala asked: “What is the connection to underworld don Bablu Srivastava and how is he seeking a stake in the money being channelised through a hawala racket? Do Modi and others have any connection to these underworld criminals?”