Chennai: In a major operation on Thursday evening, sleuths from the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence screened as many as 27 kuruvis (couriers known as sparrows) flying to Singapore via Colombo and seized Rs 62 lakh worth foreign currencies, including US dollars belonging to a hawala gang.
Airport sources said that DRI officials had checked as many as 36 regular flyers, who bring in and take out commodities and 27 of them were found carrying foreign currency of value ranging from $1,000 to $5,000.
Foreign currencies worth Rs 62.5 lakh were recovered from the passengers. DRI believes all these flyers were carrying hawala money belonging to a particular gang. It appears that after the customs and DRI started carrying out regular checks, the hawala gangs started using more passengers to carry foreign currency out of India.
“Out of 27 passengers, five said they were carrying foreign currency given by regular traders outside Chennai airport and were supposed to hand them over to a particular passenger in the flight during their journey to Colombo.
The other 22 passengers admitted to the modus operandi of smuggling foreign currency for monetary benefit. Apart from US dollars, we have also seized Euros and Singapore dollars,” a DRI official revealed. Some of the passengers were found carrying foreign currency notes wrapped with Indian notes, official explained.
In another operation in Tiruchy airport, a DRI team seized 12 gold bars worth Rs 36.5 lakh concealed in the passport holder by passenger Shahul Hameed of Ramanathpuram, flying in from Singapore....