Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Four trucks filled with cash, gold, diamonds seized in Mumbai

In a raid that lasted six hours, a joint team of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and Income Tax (Vigilance) wing seized 102 bags, each containing packets of gold, diamonds and cash, after it intercepted four trucks at Mumbai Central railway station on Monday night. The trucks were reportedly headed for Gujarat.
While agencies maintained that the consignment was "suspicious", the city's angadia (courier) and bullion association met the Directorate General of Income Tax to register its protest, claiming the entire consignment was accounted for with proper bills.
The NIA claims that a few days ago, it received a tip-off about "suspicious movement of large amount of Indian currency", expected to be routed through the legal bullion network that runs between Maharashtra and Gujarat. The intelligence hinted that the route would be used to distribute fake currency to the neighbouring state, said an official.
The trucks, escorted by wireless vehicles from VP Road police station, were stopped at the Mumbai Cental railway station compound at 9 pm on Monday. They were directed to the I-T office at Scindia House, Ballard Estate, where 102 bags were shifted to the second floor of the wing in the middle of the night.
"Our probe is limited to the intelligence we received. We are usually concerned when there is a movement of large amount of money which is not accounted for. We will wait for I-T to finish its probe. Since we do not have a mandate to probe the money trail, we handed the entire consignment to I-T," said a senior NIA official.
"There are a total of 102 bags, each of which have smaller packets containing cash, gold and diamonds. Each packet has labels with the names of the senders and recipients. We will verify these details. There are about 20-25 angadias who have approached us at our office. They transport such consignments of gold and diamond to Gujarat in this manner on a regular basis. If they are able to produce documents that show that the gold and diamonds are assets which are part of their business, we will release it to them. However, such large amounts of cash are not normally transported in this manner, as transfers can be done through cheques or banks. Therefore, it is most likely that the cash is unaccounted for, and will be seized in the case," said I-T Director General Swatantra Kumar.

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