Over Rs. 3 crore in banned currency were found in a hotel in central Delhi this morning, packaged to escape detection at airports. The money was to be flown to Mumbai and allegedly belongs to hawala operators.
Five people were caught with the money – Rs. 3.25 crore – from the the Taksh Inn in Karol Bagh, a popular market area teeming with budget hotels.
The cash was kept in different suitcases and a cardboard box.
According to investigators, specialists were hired to pack the notes so that the money could not be detected by airport scanning machines. The tapes and wires that were used were also meant to cheat X-ray machines, the police say.
Officials of the Income Tax department and the Delhi Police jointly raided the hotel after a tip-off that people working as couriers for illegal money transfer operations were preparing to move a huge amount of cash to Mumbai.
Tax officials have seized the cash and are analysing the mobile phone data of the arrested men, which allegedly has details of those involved in money-laundering.
There have been almost daily cash hauls during raids in the past few weeks, amid a massive cash crunch after the government banned Rs. 500 and 1,000 notes last month.
Recently, customs officers at the Delhi airport caught a couple returning from Bangkok, who were trying to smuggle 16 kg gold in diapers.