Hawala money worth 3.5 crores from illegal tobacco products sale seized in Pune

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After conducting day-long raids at five shops in Faraskhana and Vishrambaug areas of Pune on Wednesday, Pune police seized around Rs 3.5 crore hawala cash from illegal tobacco and related products sale.

Nine arrests have been made so far with the raid being led by the deputy commissioner of police of Zone-1, Pune, Priyanka Narnavare, and conducted by senior police inspector Rajnish Nirmal of Unit 4 of Pune police crime branch. Rs 3,47,37,920 cash, two DVRs, nine mobile phones, and two money counting machines were seized by the police after a strenuous search in the five shops from 7 am until 10 pm on Wednesday. On November 16, a raid was conducted on a shop in Kharadi based on the information received by the newly appointed senior police inspector Rajnish Nirmal as per the statement issued by the police. Identified as Mataji general store, the shop was allegedly being used for smuggling tobacco and related products sale by custom duty evasion despite their ban due to the pandemic. After the arrest of five men and seizure of Rs 1,31,340 cash, tobacco and related products worth Rs 3,92,512, two cars, and one two-wheeler, further investigation was conducted. 

A man identified as Navnath Nadev Kalbhor found to be facilitating the product transport without paying customs duty led the police to the hawala payment method used by the arrested men. The nine arrested men are suspected to be involved only in the money transfer part and not the sale.

Image Credit: Mint

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