The Enforcement Directorate on Tuesday said that it had raided 11 places in Delhi and Mumbai in connection with an international hawala racket involving Rs 700 crore and seized Rs 29 lakh.The financial probe agency said that searches were carried out at 11 premises of Pankaj Kapur and his associates in Delhi and Mumbai under Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999. The raids started on Monday and ended on Tuesday.The ED said that searches were also conducted at the offices of two Chartered Accountants and one Custom House Agent who allegedly helped Pankaj Kapur in creating a web of shell companies, managing books of accounts and filing import documents with the customs authorities."Cash totalling Rs 29.19 lakh, incriminating documents, electronic gadgets, and diaries with record of hawala transactions, stamps of more than 150 shell firms were seized," it said.
According to ED officials, Kapur is already under probe by it in a hawala case involving Rs 3,700 crore.The ED said that a preliminary inquiry revealed that hawala transactions were carried out by one of Kapur's Indian companies namely Radhika Gems Pvt Ltd by collecting money in cash in India and transferring the same to companies abroad against payments for import of diamonds."These overseas companies have been prima facie found to be owned and controlled by Kapur only," it said.The ED alleged that Kapur used these firms, more than 50 in number, to channel money collected in cash in India for transferring the same aboard.