Free Press Journal

Hawala accused Afroz Fatta sent to three-day ED remand


Ahmedabad: A local court here today remanded Surat-based diamond trader Afroz Fatta, accused of involvement in a Rs 700 crore hawala scam, in a three-day custody of the Enforcement Directorate.

The order was passed by the Principal Sessions Judge S C Srivastava, after the ED arrested Fatta yesterday and produced him before the court today.

The ED had sought seven days’ remand. Its lawyer said among other things, the agency wanted to probe Fatta’s links with underworld, and find out the whereabouts of co-accused Sundarlal Jain.

But the court granted the Central agency a three-day remand, posting the matter for further hearing on May 25.

Fatta, summoned by the ED for questioning, was grilled for about five hours yesterday before he was formally arrested. The diamond trader had earlier ignored two ED summons and allegedly gone underground.

He hit the headlines during the Lok Sabha poll campaign when Gujarat Congress leaders released a photo in which he is seen sharing stage with the Prime Minister-designate Narendra Modi.

BJP denied any links with Fatta and said anyone could get himself photographed with leaders at public events.

In March, the ED claimed to have unearthed a hawala racket (illegal fund transfer network) run by Fatta and another Surat-based trader Sundarlal Jain (still absconding).

ED alleged that Fatta and Jain opened several bogus firms and transferred Rs 700 crore overseas showing it to be the consideration for imported diamonds, while in reality not a single diamond had been imported.

Subsequent investigation revealed the amount moved out of India by the duo may be around Rs 5,000 crore, ED said.

Gujarat High Court recently refused to quash ED’s complaint against Fatta.