A huge cache of hawala money was seized from Kasaragod on Monday by Kumbala range excise officials. Rs 2.87 crore cash and 20 sovereigns of gold were seized from a car that was moving from Mangaluru to Kasaragod. The officials caught the vehicle near Manjeswaram checkpost.
Shamsudheen, (33) the car driver and a resident of Derlakatte in Mangaluru was arrested. On Monday evening the excise department handed over the case to Manjeswaram police. On Tuesday, the accused was remanded by the court.
"As of now we have no details on who else is involved in the case. The accused gave the statement the money is legal and it was used in some gold business. But he could not produce any documents to prove that, so we are sure that it's hawala money. We are just starting the investigation," Raghavan, Principal-Sub Inspector at Manjeswaram police station told TNM.
A team of excise officials headed by Kumbala range circle Inspector N Naufal had stopped the car, which was over speeding at the check post. During the search, the money and gold were found in the Maruti Swift car, stuffed in a sack.
Though Shamsudheen gave a statement that he brought the money to give to another businessman in Manjeswaram, officials did not reveal any details about the person.
Kasaragod is known to be a hub of hawala transactions. "Hawala money is very common in the district. It comes here via road, train and through Mangaluru airport. When I was transferred here from central Kerala, the first thing I heard was that the district is the land of hawala money. Many times, we find gold and money together,"an excise official from the district told TNM.
In March, Kasaragod Railway Police had arrested two people who ferried Rs 1.4 crore hawala money. They were from Maharashtra. In January, five persons from Kasaragod district were arrested from Goa for keeping Rs 1.4 crore of old currency.