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Mumbai: Rs 2500 crore cash, jewellery seized from 4 trucks

Last updated on: July 02, 2013 19:04 IST

The Income Tax Department and National Investigation Agency personnel have seized cash worth Rs 2,500 crore, and gold and diamond jewellery from four trucks in Mumbai and detained 47 people. 

It is being billed as the biggest operation of its kind.

The trucks were apprehended from outside Mumbai Central railway station, stumping the investigators who suspect a terror angle, a top IT official, requesting anonymity said on Tuesday. 

According to sources, each truck with around 15 people on board, was carrying around 35 bags, allegedly stuffed with cash and valuables. 

At least 47 people, including personal couriers, locally known as 'angadiyas', were detained and 20 were let off after initial questioning by the two agencies early Tuesday morning. 

Income Tax director general Swatantra Kumar told mediapersons on Tuesday morning that the consignment, intercepted near the busy Mumbai Central terminus around 9.30 pm on Monday, was bound from Mumbai to Ahmedabad and other destinations by the Gujarat Mail train. 

I-T officials said that so far, 50 bags containing cash have been scrutinised and they are looking into the contents of the remaining. 

Prima facie the cash appears to be part of hawala transaction, to be carried to Gujarat from Mumbai, they said. 

In an interesting twist in the case, it has been revealed that an Inspector stationed at South Mumbai's VP Road and his colleagues had escorted the trucks to station. 

The joint operation by more than 100 officers was carried out when the four trucks reached outside the Mumbai Central station to unload the suitcases. 

Those detained with around 150 suitcases of cash are still being grilled. 

The operation was carried out following a tip-off received by the NIA at least a week ago. 

It roped in the I-T Department for help as a huge amount of cash was involved. 

Not ruling out a terror funding angle, at least a dozen of those detained are being questioned separately by the NIA.

The IT officials are still counting the cash at their head office in Scindia House in Ballard Estate in south Mumbai, which houses many other central government offices. 

The true value of the consignment is expected to be known only within another day or so, an official said. 

Mumbai's famous and trusted tribe of 'angadiyas', functioning since centuries, are known to transport huge amounts of cash and valuables like diamond or gold items, daily by trains from Mumbai to Gujarat and to parts of the country.

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