ED probing Rs2,700-cr post-note ban gold buys in Hyderabad

The Enforcement Directorate has come across a major case of money laundering in Hyderabad, in which banned Rs500 and Ra1,000 currency notes were used to buy Rs2,700 crore worth of gold biscuits were bought using banned Rs500 and Rs1,000 in November alone, reports said on Sunday.

A report in The Times of India also said 8,000 kg of gold were imported into the state in the post demonetisation period of 8 to 30 November alone, adding that the persons involved are yet to be traced.

The imports were carried out through banking and trading channels, including Diamond India, MMTC, State Trading Corporation, MD Overseas, Axis Bank, Yes Bank, ICICI, SBI, HDFC Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank and The Bank of Nova Scotia, the report said.

"That all this was sold can be ascertained from the fact that there was fresh import of 1,500 kg of gold between 1 and 10 December. There is a sudden spurt in the bullion market and those with high stash of the demonetised currency are buying gold from bullion traders and jewellers in Hyderabad," the report quoted sources as saying.

Agencies  are now examining whether gold traders accepted old cash post demonetisation, which would be against the rules.

Another report cited a case involving Hyderabad's Musaddilal Jewellers who claimed to have received demands and advance payments from 5,200 customers and sold gold worth Rs100 crore in a few hours after Prime Minster narendra Modi's demonetization announcement till midnight of 8 November.

Musaddilal jewellers is reported to have deposited the Rs100 crore in the bank and transferred the same to four bullion traders, according to ED.

The ED is probing how and to whom the jeweller sold Rs100 crore worth of gold in 4 or 5 hours on the night of 8 November after the ban on the Rs500 and Rs1,000 notes came into effect.

"We noticed that efforts were made to erase CCTV footage in the jeweller's shop. When we verified CCTV footage of neighbouring shops, there is no record of customers entering Musaddilal jewellers that night," a report in the Quint quoted sources as saying.