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ED registers money laundering case in Punjab drug haul

April 02, 2013 17:09 IST

The Enforcement Directorate has registered a money laundering case in connection with the narcotics haul in Punjab from the house of alleged NRI drug dealer Anoop Singh Kahlon.

The agency, according to sources, will probe the "proceeds of crime" involved in the criminal act of smuggling of drugs and will establish the role of all those involved in the illegal racket.

A case under the provisions of Prevention of Money Laundering Act has been registered.

Prima facie, the modus operandi of smuggling drugs and generating black money, which is being probed by the Punjab police, points to a possible hawala and laundering racket in this case, they said.

Hawala is a common name for illegally routing ill-gotten money within and outside the country.

The agency has taken cognisance of the Punjab police’s FIR registered in this case and that is the basis of its initial probe.

The ED will question all those involved in this case "as per the developments" and will also track the transactions and flow of money that could have possibly taken place through established financial channels like banks.

Punjab police have claimed that the value of drugs seized from alleged Canada-based Kahlon's house on March 7 was to the tune of Rs 484 crore.

The sheer value of the seized drugs has led the agency sleuths to suspect that it could potentially lead to the cracking of a big laundering racket involving illegal proceeds of the narcotics trade.

The case has also been in limelight over the alleged links of Olympic medallist boxer Vijender with Kahlon.

The Punjab police had on March 31 said that Singh had consumed heroin 12 times after procuring it from alleged drug smugglers including Kahlon. They, however, said that the boxer was not involved in the smuggling of narcotics.

Vijender has denied any involvement in the drugs racket.

Citing the figure given by Kahlon and Kulwant Singh, who were arrested by Fatehgarh Sahib police in the heroin seizure case, police said the wholesale price of the seized drug in the international market was Rs 121 crore and its retail price was approximately Rs 484 crore.

"The agency may question any one of those involved in the case, if there is a requirement," the sources said.

Police have arrested around 15 persons in the case so far. These include Kahlon's driver Kulwinder Singh alias Rockey, Kuldip Singh (father of Rockey), Sandeep Singh (brother-in-law of Rockey), Gabbar Singh, Manpreet Singh Gill alias Mani and a Ludhiana-based Pharma company employee Sunil Katyal.

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