Kolkata: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has raided at least nine places in West Bengal’s North and South 24 Parganas in connection with a money laundering and hawala racket involving neighboring Bangladesh.
ED source said that the raid and search operations are relating huge embezzlement of funds by former managing director of Bangladesh-based NRB Global Bank, Prasanta Kumar Halder and his Indian associate Sukumar Mridha, a resident of Ashoknagar in North 24 Parganas.
The raids were in connection to purchase of property in West Bengal using illegally earned money that was transferred to Kolkata through the hawala route.
It was learned that Mridha acted as Halder’s agent in West Bengal. Even Halder owns a residence at Nabapally area in Ashoknagar.
“We doubt that Mridha and Halder also own similar properties in other cities as well. We are interrogating the relatives of Mridha and Halder here in West Bengal to get more details,” said an ED official, who did not wish to be named.
The ED sleuths in this connection interrogated Mridha’s son-in-law, Sanjib Haoladar, also a resident of Ashoknagar. He informed the central agency that his father-on-law came to Ashoknagar last time almost two years back and he had no knowledge about his father-in-law’s involvement in money laundering and hawala scams.
It was learned that the house at Ashoknagar, which is currently owned by Mridha, was originally owned by Halder. However, around four years back the ownership of the house was transferred to the name of Mridha.
It was also learned that on Friday the ED sleuths have detained a local person, Swapan Mitra, who is believed to be a key associate of Halder and Mridha in this illegal money laundering and hawala racket. Several crucial documents regarding property transfer deals have been secured from Mitra, ED sources said.