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Key Hawala Operator Nirmal Jain Booked By ED

PTI 26 Sep 2009, 10:12:03 IST
PTI

Nirmal Jain, an Indian hawala trader accused of terror financing by Homeland Security of the US, was on Friday booked by Enforcement Directorate for running a hawala operation to the tune of Rs 5,000 crore.

Jain's residence was searched by sleuths of Enforcement Directorate during which they claimed to have recovered an unaccounted cash of Rs 60 lakh from his residence in Pitampura of North Delhi, official sources said.

Searches were carried out on eight premises of Jain, who was accused of being a mastermind hawala dealer. His operations are believed to be spread over Nigeria, Italy, Afghanistan, China, Pakistan, Bolivia, Congo and Cooks Island among many other countries.

Jain, booked under Foreign Exchange Management Act, was arrested by Dubai police along with his associate in 2007 as part of their crackdown on money launderers following inputs from Homeland Security and UK's Serious Organised Crime Agency that he was allegedly involved in laundering drug money for various terror groups.

The ED also claimed that Jain along with his brothers Bimal and Satpal used to undertake hawala operations for underworld don and global terrorist Dawood Ibrahim and even for Al-Qaeda.

Jain or his brothers was not immediately available for comment.

Besides the Rs 60 lakh cash, the ED also claimed to have found foreign currency worth a little over Rs three lakh, documents showing foreign bank accounts, unaccounted investment and hawala transactions worth several thousand crore of rupees.

Papers showing transactions of several crores of rupees with different Pakistan and Afghanistan based persons and entities were also found and seized, the ED said.

Jain has been operating a worldwide network of money laundering for organised group of all ethnicities and a range of criminality including drug trafficking and fraud, ED officials said.

The ED claimed that that Jain was working in tandem with a large number of other hawala operators based in Delhi and other places in India and abroad.

It was also alleged that Jain was using certain companies and accounts in New York for depositing proceeds of crime (drug money) and transferring the funds so generated illegally to drug barons in locations such as Turkey.

The ED has already identified about 40 front companies used by Jain for his money laundering activities with more companies suspected to have being set up by him, sources said.

Jain, who also owns a copper mine in Congo, had moved to India six months ago. In his statement given to ED, Jain is alleged to have admitted to send telegraphic transactions for a large number of importers and exporters in India and abroad.

Earlier in 2006, Italian authorities in collaboration with US Drug Enforcement Administration and SOCA had first come to know about Jain's activities through a sting operation called "Operation Khyber Pass".    PTI