Counterfeit currency, hawala money transactions on the rise in State

via Pioneer News Service | Kochi /Alappuzha published on November 18, 2007

The arrest of Mohammed Ali of Kollam from Cherthala near Alappuzha in a private luxury bus with unaccounted money worth Rs 25 lakh on Saturday is being considered as the tip of the iceberg in the thriving hawala market of the State with its centres of operation based in Koduvally and Vengara in Malappuram district.

The arrest of Shajahan by the Thiruvananthapuram police on Friday after tracing him out for depositing counterfeit currencies in the branch of a nationalised bank in a particular account. These two incidents have been warned much earlier by the intelligence agencies and sources said that the special wing of the State police have not shown any interest to this issue.

It is alarming that the State is reeling under the threat of counterfeit currency rackets and a thriving hawala mafia with senior State police officers themselves admitting of the direct involvement of some IPS officers in these dubious transactions. This was revealed to the police after the arrest of the hawala operative Kodali Sreedharan and his gang who gained notoriety in attacking the hawala carriers and looting their money.

He had confessed to the police of the direct involvement of three senior officers with the State police but no further action was taken. This according to sources in the State intelligence is due to pressure from certain political quarters.

Interestingly the enforcement which is in charge of seizing and breaking the hawala operators is not having any say in the scheme of things with the agency poorly outshadowed by the smarter officials of the Department of revenue intelligence (DRI). The enforcement according to sources is out and out now in for settling political scores and involving in petty squabbles in political parties.

The presence of the huge cache of money from the passenger has resulted in a clear flutter among the officers of the State police as several answers has to be given owing to the lethargy on the part of the officials and the presence of even officials among the informers to the strong hawala racket. The State Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan had made a statement in the Assembly that the police is on the look out of the hawala operatives and that arrests would be made soon.

There were of course some arrests but it seems that the Home Minister and his police turned yielded before the powerful hawala lobby which is said to have its reach even in the higher echelons of power.

The arrest of Bechu Rahiman by the Kalamassery police from a hideout in Mumbai is also considered a breakthrough but skeptics are of the opinion that Bechu was involved in several counterfeit rackets even before and his arrest has not made much of a difference.

The central intelligence agencies and for that matter the DRI is behind certain Kerala-based operatives in the underworld who are committing fraudulent crimes in the financial sector and sources in the DRI told The Pioneer that they are on the trial of a big racket who are involved in dumping container loads of counterfeit currency in the Indian market.

According to these sources it has already been confirmed that the counterfeit currency racket has its base in the UAE and this has direct connections with a foreign intelligence agency which is trying to wreck the economy of India

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