DRI: Arrested Jet Airways crew part of global hawala racket

DRI: Arrested Jet Airways crew part of global hawala racket

"US dollars worth Rs 3.21 crore were seized from a lady crew of a Hong Kong-bound Jet Airways flight on Monday night at the Indira Gandhi International Airport here", a DRI statement said. Officials found $4,80,200 (approximately Rs 3.21 crore) wrapped in foil in her possession.

The air hostess was suspected of pocketing half the money which was to be flown outside the country.

The two pilots were reportedly grounded last week in response to the incident. However, the investigators disagreed with her stating that the money stashed in her bag was "significantly mroe than" $80,000. During interrogation, it came to light that the woman was a carrier of a major global hawala syndicate and has carried foreign currencies many times for a Delhi-based hawala operator, it said.

Malhotra has adopted a modus operandi of using crew members for smuggling of foreign exchange.

"The scheme involved collecting money from bullion dealers in Delhi and getting airline workers to take the money overseas, which was then brought back to India in the form of gold, " the report said.

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The money was being used for purchasing gold overseas and later sent to India illegally, the official said. The interrogation of the crew member has led the DRI to a travel company owner, who appears to be the mastermind of the scheme, the officials said.

She was allegedly supposed to get one per cent of the total money smuggling. "At least 10 businessmen and some other airline crew members are on our radar", a DRI official, who asked not to be named, told Hindustan Times.

The flight, which carried 324 passengers, landed safely in Mumbai, but Jet Airways grounded the two pilots while the airline investigated the incident, which anxious cabin crew and passengers during the flight, Fox reported.

A Delhi court sent the two to two-day judicial custody.

A Jet Airways spokesperson said, "During an inspection by a DRI team, a large sum of foreign currency was recovered from an employee of the airline".

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