DRI Books Uncle-Nephew Duo For Gold Smuggling, Hawala Transactions In Bengal

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Kolkata: The “uncle-nephew duo” arrested by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) last month for “corporate type smuggling” of gold amounting to Rs 120 crore has been booked under COFEPOSA (Conservation of Foreign Exchange and Prevention of Smuggling Activities) Act, an official said on Friday.

Taking a cue from the seizure of 8 kg of foreign-origin gold valued at Rs 2.72 crore and Rs 24,000 cash from a person inside a bus at Dankuni toll plaza in West Bengal’s Hooghly district, the DRI sleuths arrested the “uncle-nephew duo” who was instrumental in successfully ferrying huge quantity of smuggled gold from various bordering locations.

“Investigation reveals that Ashok Jalan, the mastermind in several cases of smuggling, runs a very well-oiled, well-coordinated corporate type smuggling ‘organisation’ with separate verticals/divisions handling finance and manpower (carriers of gold). This structure enabled him to remain incognito for the last five years or more,” the DRI said.

“The mastermind admitted that he was the person behind the (case relating to) seizure of about 420 kg of gold valued at about Rs 120 crore and also the seizure of $7,50,000. Amit Jalan, who happens to be the nephew of the mastermind, is also his close confidant/right-hand man,” the DRI said.

The investigation reveals that Ashok Jalan, a commerce graduate, rose from the ranks of a petty businessman selling toothbrush and washing brush, and at various times worked as broker of gold and silver, etc.

Gradually, he got involved in hawala transactions with operators of Bangladesh who functioned through Singapore, Dubai and Hong Kong. As per the requirement of a customer, he arranged for TT (Telegraphic Transfer) of Chinese Yuan or US Dollar to a specific account outside India (mainly at Bangladesh, Dubai, Singapore, Hong Kong) on a commission basis.

This is the third time that Ashok Jalan is being detained under COFEPOSA.

He was earlier detained twice under COFEPOSA in 1994 and 2002 in connection with cases booked by the Enforcement Directorate concerning unauthorised dealings in foreign exchange and receipts and payments of hawala money.

“In the light of Ashok and Amit Jalan’s long history of being involved in gold smuggling, hawala racket and other illegal activities over an inordinate length of time and at such a large scale, the government has issued a Detention Order under Section 3(1) of the COFEPOSA Act, 1974 to detain Ashok Jalan and Amit Jalan, with a view to preventing them from smuggling of goods,” the official added.

They have been lodged at Presidency Correctional Home, Kolkata.