I-T sleuths unearth money laundering syndicate in Mumbai, Nagpur, Ahmedabad

09 December 2016

Income tax investigations in Mumbai has led to the revelation of a syndicate of ground level operators active in converting banned currency notes into legal tenders for a commission. The I-T investigation directorate used decoy customers seeking to exchange banned currency notes notes into new notes to track the culprits. 

The syndicate, acting through its mediator, agreed to exchange old currency for a 35-per cent commission. The exchange was to take place at the mediator's residence. The mediator was caught red handed and new currency notes aggregating to Rs29.5 lakh was seized, an official release said.

It has now emerged that the syndicate comprised of many ground level operators (GLOs) - mainly local youths led by a master aggregator and a mediator. The mediator would seek customers. The GLOs would withdraw new currency in their own names or names of friends and family within the prescribed weekly limits, pass it on to the aggregator for a commission and deposit the old notes in their own accounts or accounts of family or friends in small sums.

Another investigation into cash deposits in a bank account in Nagpur revealed that the account holder had no knowledge of the existence of her account where Rs3.29 crore had been deposited after 8 November 2016. Enquiries by the department revealed 6 more such accounts in her and parents' names. The seven accounts were opened and operated by unknown persons to launder cash of Rs4.25 crore.

Evidences gathered suggest that copies of PAN and other personal documents that she handed over to a friend a few years back were used fraudulently to open these accounts in Kolkata, which were operated to channel suspicious funds to eight beneficiaries, who are now being investigated.

In an interesting case in Ahmedabad, discrete intelligence gathered by the I-T investigation team led to a survey of the premises of a transporter in the late hours of 3 December 2016. Twenty-four cartons in the godown of the transporter meant for transport to Delhi were found.

Lorry receipts declared these to contain fire crackers. When the cartons were opened and examined, two cartons were found to conceal currencies in the denomination of Rs100 aggregating to Rs27 lakh. On interrogation, the consigner claimed that the cash was on account of sale of fire crackers being transported to Delhi for purchase of fire crackers. The cash was seized on 5 December 2016.

 search domain-b