A special court of Ahmedabad for Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) here today issued a non- bailable arrest warrant against accused Afroz Fatta’s aide Prithviraj Kothari, a bullion trader, in the multi-crore Hawala scam.
PMLA Court Judge A P Bhojak issued the non-bailable warrant against Kothari in the alleged scam to the tune of Rs 5,395 crore probed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).
According to ED officials, Kothari aided Fatta to send around Rs 1,000-crore through alleged Hawala channels to his companies in Dubai, Singapore and Hongkong.
“In this case, the money was sent outside India in two months. Their modus operandi was to put forged documents of diamonds import in one ICICI bank at Surat and later they used to send the money against it to Dubai, Singapore and Hongkong,” an ED official alleged.
“Investigations revealed that Dubai and Hongkong-based companies were controlled by Prithviraj Kothari, Rajesh Jain and Manshukh Sanghavi (all aides of Fatta). Prithviraj Kothari controlled them through his nephew Raju Kothari, who is based in Dubai,” the official said.
“His Indian operations were monitored by Rakesh Kothari (another nephew ) who is behind bars since 9 months. In this case, accused Afroz Fatta and Madanlal Jain have already been arrested, who were looking after Indian front companies,” he said.
“After the arrest of one Manish Shah, who was on paper proprietor of a Dubai-based company Mabrook trading. The ED has got vital-evidence-regarding international racket of Rajesh Jain and Prithviraj Kothari,” he said.
“In Mabrook trading, Rs 700 crores were transferred through Afroz Fatta’s company in months of December 2013 to January 2014. This money has gone to Switzerland and in some other tax havens,” claimed the ED official.
The ED busted the alleged multi-crore Hawala racket during their search operations in Surat in March 2014 in offices of some diamond traders, including Fatta and Jain.
It was alleged that instead of importing diamonds, the duo made bogus import bills, claiming that they have purchased the diamonds from foreign traders.
Using these bills, it was alleged that the duo used to transfer money through their bank accounts. Thus, money went outside India without a single diamond imported in India, the prosecution has said.