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24 Jan 2017

Rs 37lakh in new notes seized at airport

TNN | Jan 24, 2017, KOLKATA: The air intelligence unit at the NSCBI airport on Monday said it has busted a hawala racket and seized new Indian currency worth Rs 37 lakh from two persons trying to take the money to Bangkok. Two of the accused, Bhaawdeep Jung Rana and Awtar Singh, were arrested on Monday morning. The duo was produced in court and released on bail.
According to sources, the duo was planning to take a Bangkok-bound SpiceJet flight on Monday morning. When they had put the luggage in the baggage X-ray scanner, the officials noticed stacks of currency notes inside. They were asked to open the bags and customs officials found bundles of Rs 2,000 notes inside. "The notes primarily seemed to be part of the same brick, but they were not in a particular series. That was surprising for us," said an official.
"When we started interrogating them, the duo failed to produce any document in support of carrying such a large amount. Later, the two confessed they were handed over the money when they reached the airport," said an official. Sources said when they reached the airport, some unknown person met them at a pre-decided place and handed over the money. They had a conversation in a coded language to corroborate the identity. "But the instructions had come from someone in Bangkok. The carriers did not know whom to hand over the money in Thailand," the official said.
Sanjay Saha, the advocate appearing for the accused, said: "Customs officials can't prove their claim of link to any hawala racket. The two were carrying currency below Rs 1 crore and were liable to get bail. The court has granted bail to them," he said.
There were more to it when the officials started digging deeper. One of the accused has business in Bangkok and has been frequenting the country. He also runs a school in Thailand, an official said.
"While he was not arrested recently, there are indications that he was not new to it," said the official.
They were charged with sections 104 and 305 (mis declaration of value or fraudulent evasion of duty) of the Customs Act.





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