A money laundering nexus was hit hard in the head Monday morning when the police arrested an Air Hostess involved in smuggling foreign currencies in her luggage.
Based on a tip-off, a team of DRI (Directorate of Revenue Intelligence) officials entered a JetAirways flight scheduled to leave for Hong Kong. After hours of search, they emerged with the culprit Deveshi Kulshrestha (25) along with about Rs. 3.21 crore in foreign currency (US dollars).
Kulshrestha was carrying the notes in multiple bundles covered with aluminum foils and carbon sheets, so as to escape X-Ray detection. Upon further investigation, she revealed that an entire nexus was behind this money laundering business.
Based on her information, the police picked up Amit Malhotra, who is said to be the mastermind behind these operations. Around 3.3 lakh INR worth of foreign currency was also recovered from his office. Malhotra, a resident of Vivek Vihar in Delhi, ran a tour agency as a front for his money laundering business. Reportedly, Malhotra met Deveshi six months back and offered to be a part of his scheme.
However, by Wednesday, more details arose. Deveshi revealed that she received Rs. 1 lakh for every trip she made with the currency. However, while her husband is still under investigation, Deveshi claims that he was not an accomplice in the crime and only deposited the amount in the account.
Deveshi also revealed that two more JetAirways employees were involved in the hawala operation, and the DRI is sure that Malhotra might reveal even more names. JetAirways, however, seems short of words regarding such an elaborate illegal operation being run right under their nose.
The entire case does stand to say that your flights were benefitting a lot of shady characters around.