The Enforcement Directorate (ED) conducted simultaneous raids at 15 locations across Kerala, in an operation spanning more than five districts late Monday night on a network of hawala operators running “large racket" of forex dealers sending hawala funds to Gulf countries, US and Canada.
The forex transactions in the guise of forex dealership, gift shop business, and textiles and gold business were under the scanner of ED investigations.
An unquantified sum of Indian and foreign currency has been found in some "secret" vaults during the raids in Kerala.
The searches were carried out as a part of an investigation against the hawala network and transactions related to it across the state. The raids commenced at 5 pm on Monday where a team of around 150 officials, including security forces were deployed for the inspection ensuring a thorough examination of the identified locations.
Raids conducted under FEMA
The searches are being conducted under the provisions of the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) in response to the discovery of transactions amounting to a staggering Rs 10,000 crores by foreign currency exchange clients and forex institutions in the southern state. ED had alleged that hawala transactions from around 50 countries are taking place in Kerala and enforcement sleuths had seized significant amounts of foreign currencies during the raids from secret vaults.
The searches were conducted at gift shops, jewellery stores, and electronics & mobile phone shops including at popular Hana Glass situated in the popular shopping hub of Kochi's Penta Menaka market.