Nagpur: The Second Capital of Maharashtra is growing at a rapid pace and the crimes such as Hawala scam are flourishing in the city with the growth. Such dubious transactions have come to the fore in the city recently. In Hawala transactions, crores of rupees are exchanged in the most fraudulent manner. The dirty game is played based on serial numbers of currency notes. The players not only evade income tax but also save GST.
Hawala is defined as a money transfer method, which takes place outside the traditional banking system and requires a minimum of two Hawala dealers that take care of the “transaction”. An individual who wants to transfer money to another city gets in contact with a Hawala dealer. He gives him/her the money plus a commission and the information of the beneficiary of the funds.
The network of Hawala racket has its tentacles spread across Nagpur district in a big way. The money travels from cities to cities including Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, Raipur, Jabalpur and other cities. Commission between Rs 400 and 500 per lakh is charged according to the distance.
The Hawala racket was busted earlier also in Nagpur but only the ‘small fish’ was netted. Now, Hawala transactions are booming in the city on the pretext of gold-silver dealings. In the action against Hawala money by Nandanvan police in 2018, it was revealed that the epicentre of the dubious business was Nagpur in the gold-silver dealings between Mumbai and Raipur. Money in crores was brought to Nagpur through a jewellery firm of Raipur. The episode grabbed dubious headlines as a police officer, with the help of two colleagues, had pocketed around Rs 3 crore. Found guilty in the probe, the police officer and the two personnel were jailed.
Hawala dealers may use different techniques to settle their debts to each other. Some of them are the “reverse Hawala” between two Hawala dealers; the multilateral settlement between several players who are part of the same network; the settlement through trade transactions, like over-invoicing; the settlement through cash via cash couriers, banking and money services business channels.
A Hawala dealer, in order to give legal shape to his business, shows sale-purchase of gold, silver, diamonds in his account. But in reality, all these import bills are bogus and claim to have purchased gold, silver, diamonds from foreign traders.
Tax havens protecting Hawala operators:
Indian efforts to trace Hawala operators involved in money laundering and terror financing are facing hurdles due to non-cooperation of many countries where these racketeers operate.
The unhelpful countries include tax havens like Dubai, Hong Kong, Switzerland and others. To get around the hurdles being created by these countries India is trying to strengthen its tax treaties with them.
Hawala in Nagpur:
In the Second Capital of the State, areas like Itwari, Gandhibagh, Lalganj, Wardhman Nagar, Sarafa Oli, Loha Oli runs the Hawala on the pretexts of courier business, in the name of any associate, transport, medical, sweet shop or trading firm. There are many small shops and offices established in this connection. According to sources, transactions worth ₹100 Crores take place in Nagpur every month.
Strict action against Hawala operators:
When Nagpur Today took matter to Nagpur Police Commissioner Amitesh Kumar, he said that we’ve already curbed all the illegal activities in city and as far as Hawala is concerned, all the police stations have been instructed to take strict action regarding this menace.
– Ravikant Kamble