In what could have been straight out of a scene from a Bollywood movie, the Panaji Directorate of the Income Tax department discovered a secret chamber in the bathroom of a hawala operator, which evidently was used to store cash and gold. 28kg of gold bullion, about 4kg of gold and jewelry, Rs. 5.7 crore in new Rs. 2000 currency notes, and Rs. 90 lakh in old Rs. 100 and Rs. 20 notes were seized from the chamber, according to a press release.
The Karnataka and Goa arm of the I-T department carried out search operations on casino operators and bullion traders in Hubballi and Chitradurga districts of Karnataka on Friday. Income-tax teams were present at around 15 premises spread across the states of Karnataka and Goa. The department said that one of the hawala operators was also actively involved in converting old notes and was accumulating bullion using old currency.
During the search operations, a secret chamber in the bathroom of the residence of a hawala operator was traced.
Various incriminating documents have also been recovered and income tax teams are further analyzing and investigating the same, the statement said.
“Notably the major haul of new denomination currency is from a relatively small town Challakere in Chitradurga district. This small town with a population of 50,000 is 40 km away from the district headquarters,” the department noted.
Officers continue to search the premises of the operator.