ED files charge sheet in Surat diamonds hawala case

Last Updated: Sun, Jul 20, 2014 08:40 hrs

Surat: A special court Saturday issued summons against 77 accused in connection with the Rs 5,395-crore alleged Surat fake diamond trade and hawala scam after the Enforcement Directorate (ED) filed a charge sheet under anti-money laundering laws against prime accused Afroz Fatta and others.

S C Srivastava, spcial judge of PMLA court, has ordered all the accused persons to surrender their passports before the next hearing on September 2 and also directed them to furnish surety of Rs 50,000 each.

The agency was probing the case for over four months and charged a total of 79 people, including key accused Fatta and Madanlal Jain, under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) after it had filed a complaint in a special court in Ahmedabad.

Fatta and Jain are currently in ED's custody.

The 4350-page charge sheet also said certain Surat-based companies, including Harmony Diamonds, Agni Gems, M B Offshore Distributors and R A Distributors, had sent foreign remittances on the strength of the forged bill of entry to a few offshore firms which are based in at Hong Kong and Dubai.

The cash was channelised by way of Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) system through various entities to make foreign outward remittances, though imports were not made against this, it said.

As per the ED probe, Rs 3,929 crore were transferred through RTGS system.

ED had on March 21 busted a multi-crore hawala racket during their search operations in Surat-based offices of some diamond traders including Fatta and Jain.

It is alleged that instead of importing diamonds, the duo made bogus import bills, claiming that they have purchased the diamonds from foreign traders.

Using these bills, it is alleged that the duo used to transfer money through their bank accounts. Thus, money went outside without a single diamond imported in India.

The hawala scam had turned into a political fight when Congress released a CD purportedly showing a photo of the then Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi with Fatta and demanded an independent probe.

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