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Four held for hawala scam

The Enforcement Directorate has booked the accused under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act

For the first time ever, the Enforcement Directorate has registered a case against four traders, who were allegedly engaged in business across the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir. Sources said they were reportedly working for the banned militant outfit, Lashkar-e-Toiba.

Valley link
"We have been keeping a close tab on the activities across the Valley and have even sent our men to review the hawala racket transaction there," they said. Refusing to divulge the identity of the arrested men, ED sources said they have been booked under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), and a probe has been initiated. The Directorate has been working with the assistance of Jammu and Kashmir police.

Past activities
Earlier in 2009, J&K police had busted a hawala racket involving businessmen in Punjab and Jammu, who had allegedly channelised funds to Lashkar militants in the Kashmir valley. Sources said such outfits were taking advantage of the absence of legal banking facilities for trade across the LoC, which is based on a barter system.

Police had arrested Mushtaq Ahmad, a Budgam resident and businessman, while he was handing over Rs 10 lakh to a militant sympathiser, identified as Abdullah, who was also arrested. Jammu-based businessman Suraj Singh and a Kashmiri trader from Kulgam had set up companies that would receive goods from across the LoC via the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad road and Chaka-da-Bagh in Poonch.

These goods were then sent to two Amritsar-based businessmen, identified as Vipin Kumar and Sanjeev. The ED has this as their first case since cross-LoC trade began in October 2008.

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