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Friday 24 January 2020

Forex smuggling: More Jet Airways staff under DRI lens

New Delhi: Expanding its probe, the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) is looking into the role of some more crew members of Jet Airways for their alleged involvement in smuggling of foreign currency, officials said today.

The move comes after the arrest of one of the flight attendants of Jet Airways for allegedly smuggling forex worth over Rs three crore to Hong Kong, they said.

The DRI is looking into the role of some other employees of Jet Airways for their alleged involvement in a major hawala syndicate, the officials said.

The airline had said it has a strict code of conduct and zero tolerance towards any action of its employees that contravenes domestic or international laws of the countries in which it operates.

“Based on the investigations and inputs from law enforcement agencies, the airline will take further action,” Jet Airways had said in a filing to the BSE.

The company was asked by the exchange to provide its response over a news reports in this regard.

“This (news) article will not have any material impact on the company as the event involves an act committed by the concerned crew in her individual capacity and not as an employee acting on the instructions of the company,” the airline had said.

The DRI had arrested the flight attendant, Deveshi Kulshreshtha, for allegedly trying to smuggle out $4,80,200 (Rs 3.25 crore) from a Jet Airways plane, that was scheduled to take off for Hong Kong from here on 8 January.

Later, a tour operator identified as Amit Malhotra was also arrested for being part of this hawala racket, the officials said.

“Malhotra would collect money from some bullion dealers in Delhi and send it via some air hostess to select foreign destinations. The money was being used for purchasing gold abroad. The gold would then be sent to India illegally,” one of the officials said.

Malhotra used Deveshi for smuggling forex for past six months, he said.

The DRI official claimed Malhotra has been smuggling out forex using the airline crew for past over one year.

“We are looking into the role of other crew members in this hawala racket. Some more staff will be called for questioning,” he said.

Both Deveshi and Malhotra have been sent to two-week judicial custody by a special CBI court on 11 January.


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