New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has arrested alleged "hawala" dealer Naresh Jain in a money-laundering probe linked to "hawala" transactions worth about Rs 20,000 crore, officials said on Wednesday. They said Jain has been arrested under sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) and will be produced before a court here.
A maze of multiple shell or dubious firms and at least 600 bank accounts are under the scanner of the agency in the case, touted to be one of the biggest hawala and trade-based money-laundering cases of the country. The officials said Jain and his associates are being probed for "hawala" or illegal financial transactions, including overseas ones, worth about Rs 20,000 crore that have been carried out over the last few years.
The agency has also found out about the regular modus operandi of "generations of fake invoices for bogus import and exports" of the accused in the case, with Jain allegedly being the key player. The Delhi-based businessman was under the scanner of probe agencies for long and in 2016, the ED had slapped a Rs 1,200-crore notice on him for alleged contravention of the forex law.
According to the agencies, Jain has allegedly laundered and routed "hawala" funds for years, financed contraband networks and was also arrested by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) in the past. The ED money-laundering case is based on this NCB complaint.
The agency has been on Jain's trail since 2009, after he moved his operations to India from Dubai.