Hawala denotes illegal transaction of funds by skirting the legal banking channels
Mumbai Police have busted a mobile phone theft racket operating through the ‘hawala’ channel and selling the stolen gadgets in Nepal and Bangladesh, an official said. Hawala denotes illegal transaction of funds by skirting the legal banking channels. The scale of the crime can be estimated from the fact that during a single raid, 480 mobile handsets including iphones were seized from a location at Maharashtra Nagar in Mankhurd area on July 15, he said.
A preliminary investigation suggested the gang had links in other countries also, he said. Besides the mobile phones, the police had also seized 9.5 kg of ganja, 174 bottles of foreign liquor, two swords and a laptop during the raid, all collectively worth about Rs 75 lakh, the official said.
The Mumbai crime branch on Thursday arrested one of the accused, Asif Idrisi (25), from Jahangirabad town in Uttar Pradesh. The police had earlier nabbed two other gang members Mehboob alias Lallu Badruddin Khan (37) and Faiyaz Sheikh (31) from here, he said.
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During the probe, the crime branch found the gang was purchasing mobile phones from thieves in the city. “They would then change the IMEI numbers of the phones and sell them in different parts of India, Nepal and Bangladesh and receive money through the hawala channel,” the official said.
The gang also had links with people in ‘Chor Bazar’, one of the largest flea markets in south Mumbai, he said. “We seized 480 mobile phones in just one raid. We can only assume how many gadgets they have sold in Nepal and Bangladesh,” the official said. After Idrisi being nabbed from UP, more arrests are likely in the case, he added.
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