Hawala too takes the digital route

Vishwas News

Hyderabad, Mar 10:After cricket bookies and punters, flesh traders and their ilk, hawala racketeers too now have taken to WhatsApp for smooth communication, if recent cases are any indication.
The Hyderabad City Police, who busted two major hawala rackets in the city already this year, believe agents here have a strong network with their counterparts in other metro cities in the country and that their dealings are mostly initiated, discussed and settled over popular messaging app WhatsApp before the exchange of cash.
"Racketeers here have a strong base and agents set up in all major cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Bengaluru who deliver cash as per instructions. A percentage between 0.6 to 0.8 is taken as commission for the total amount to be delivered," police said. Earlier a currency note was cut into two halves and used as a code. There were books and computer data maintained. Now, it is WhatsApp, said a senior official.
"With new technology coming in, racketeers are using WhatsApp for communication. The supplier will call his agent and inform about the party, send a picture over WhatsApp of the serial number note as a code. When the code is shown, the amount is handed over by the agent," a senior Task Force official said. It is not just businessmen who have used the hawala network to bring cash into Hyderabad. The National Investigation Agency (NIA), which is probing the Dilsukhnagar twin blasts cases, had earlier revealed that terror operatives who carried out the blasts were reportedly funded through a hawala network.
"There is a possibility of anti-social elements too using this channel, but as if now, we have no proof of it. But it is a strong possibility as they cannot get money from elsewhere legally," police said. Many jewellers, traders and construction contractors too opt for hawala. "Withdrawal of huge sums of cash from bank has many restrictions, so they opt for hawala. Traders and contractors who pay huge money as daily wages also are part of the network," officials said.
Tackling the hawala menace is not the job of the police alone, with the Income Tax department too having a role to play. The police busts the racket using their informant network, and then the case is handed over to the Income Tax department.
Source: Vishwas News



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