ED seizes Rs 3.57 cr in raids on tour and travel firms

New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has seized Rs 3.5 crore belonging to directors of several tours and travel companies, during raids conducted at eight different locations in Delhi and Ghaziabad, the agency said on Saturday.

The federal agency carried out these searches on Thursday under the Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999 (FEMA).

Besides residences and offices of directors of several tours and travel companies, the ED also conducted searches at the houses and offices of their chartered accountants.

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In the raid, the ED said it seized “unaccounted Indian currency amounting to Rs 3.57 crore along with several incriminating documents and digital records”.

Investigations under FEMA were initiated against various entities including tour and travel companies on the basis of specific inputs that these entities were involved in the unauthorized receipt of foreign remittances through payment gateways in the name of providing e-visa services to foreigners, the ED said.

“Investigations conducted in the matter so far have revealed that two such entities received a foreign remittance of more than Rs 200 crore for processing Indian e-visa applications of foreigners without any authorization from the government of India.”

These entities were also involved in high-value suspicious transactions, the agency said. Investigations also revealed that certain Chartered Accountants played a key role in managing the affairs of these entities and were behind suspicious transactions.

“The seizure of unaccounted cash of Rs 3.57 crore during the search operations has raised further suspicion about the operations of such entities and their blatant violation of the statutory requirements. Further investigation, in this case, is under progress,” the agency added.

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