It was alleged that the casino dealers and agents organised casinos for Indian nationals in Nepal in June, and the winners were allegedly paid through hawala transactions.

Representative image of Enforcement Directorate buildingRepresentative image of Enforcement Directorate building
news ED Thursday, July 28, 2022 - 13:01

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Wednesday, July 27, conducted searches at eight locations in Hyderabad and Andhra Pradesh against casino organisers and agents for violation of the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) rules, officials said. The searches were carried out at the residences and other locations of the casino organisers, their associates and agents, they said adding the central agency looked at alleged hawala transactions.

"The searches were conducted at eight places under the provisions of the FEMA," an official said, without divulging other details. It was alleged that the casino dealers and agents organised casinos in Nepal in June this year and special flights were arranged for the gamers and the winners were reportedly paid through hawala transactions, in violation of FEMA rules. Asked if any seizures were done by the ED after the searches, the official did not comment.

According to The New Indian Express, the searches in Hyderabad were carried out in properties belonging to Praveen Chikoti in Saifabad and Madhav Reddy from Bowenpally. The two suspects were involved with a casino in Jhapa, Nepal where they organise high-stakes gambling for Indian nationals, TNIE reported. 

Cases taken up for investigation under FEMA and recorded under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) have seen a substantial jump in the last few years. During the last ten years, the ED has taken up around 24,893 cases for investigation under the provisions of FEMA and has recorded around 3,985 cases under the PMLA. While the total number of cases under FEMA and PMLA in the year 2020-21 was 2,747 and 981, it increased to 5,313 and 1,180 in the year 2021-22. The Minister of State, Finance, informed the Lok Sabha on July 25 that ED is an investigation agency which is mandated with the task of enforcing provisions of FEMA, PMLA and Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, 2018 (FEOA). 

Read: SC upholds ED's powers to arrest under PMLA without disclosing grounds

With IANS inputs

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