In the recent past, Mumbai’s Crime Branch arrested a person from Uttar Pradesh’s Lucknow for allegedly handling hawala money of DCP Saurabh Tripathi, an accused in the Angadia extortion case. It is a rare thing when a cop doesn’t indulge himself in some extra perks. I have seen many cops, who leave their homes in the morning in search of some Bakra and force them for some bribe money on any pretext. These are small rank cops and havaldar, who get merger salaries to meet their needs. There are many reforms still pending, they are not getting what they deserve, their job is painstaking, but these are not the reason for them to resort to bribery.
Well, when it comes to higher authorities like ACP and DCP or in Param Bir’s case it CP level of corruption just to please their masters, or most of the time to elevate their standards of living. Don’t know why no media or RTI activists have taken this corruption issue seriously. Compare the salaries these top cops draw and their assets against the income and above all their standard of living. I am sure in 99 per cent of these cases you will find a discrepancy. Well, those cops who got caught are guilty and those who are not are still innocent.
We all know, Hawala money or money laundering is illegal in most countries including India. The world of angadias is secret and works on mutual trust – in layman’s terms, it is an unofficial courier-cum-banking service. Such businesses cannot flourish without the cover of politicians and the goodwill of cops. If you remember, recently Central agencies and Mumbai police hunted ex-Mumbai Commissioner Param Bir Singh, city police arrested a 42-year-old Alpesh Patel ‘hawala’ operator from Gujarat in connection with an extortion case. Param Bir Singh was booked under several extortion cases. Look at the irony, he was CP of Mumbai until got caught. Patel’s role came to light during an investigation into the extortion case, which was filed a few months back by businessman Bimal Agrawal at Goregaon police station against Param Bir Singh. Till his departure from the CP office, no one knew what all he was doing sitting on top cop’s chair.
Throughout India, several crores are being transferred daily – but the bulk is between Mumbai and Ahmedabad. The angadias – most of whom hail from the Kathiawar region of Gujarat – have been in business for several decades now. Since Independence, the angadias have been a mainstay when it comes to transacting money, jewellery, gold, diamonds, and other precious stones. Post-Independence, the angadia services have started in a big way. Diamond traders and businessmen prefer angadia services – as it involves mutual trust, is a completely unofficial channel and faster than any other service. In today’s world, accounts for cash get transferred within a matter of a few minutes. The angadias transfer money, diamonds and jewellery – in a maximum of 24 hours and charge a small fee – generally Rs 100 for a transfer of Rs one lakh or value.
The network is so trustworthy that people often keep accounts for them. For example, if one transacts Rs 5 lakh daily, he may keep anything between Rs 10 to 30 lakh as a balance with the angadias. It helps them square off the accounts on a weekly, fortnightly basis. It is an informal network. Since it is a closely-held community, getting the right figure is difficult – but according to informed sources, there are 200-odd angadias in Mumbai. Similarly, major trading towns like Ahmedabad, Surat and even in other states.
In Mumbai, angadias run the business from the Bhuleshwar, Opera House, Zaveri Bazaar, Malad areas. Recently, the Bharat Diamond Bourse has also come up in the Bandra-Kurla Complex – and some angadias operate from here too. Do you think Cops are not aware of these businesses? If they know, then what can be the reason that these Angadiyas are flourishing in the city?
One of the realities, responsible for this mutual trust and respect between businessmen and angadias is the fact that a whopping amount of money transacted is in black. Transferring so much money through official channels is not possible as it would come to the notice of the taxman. Therefore, this is transferred through unofficial means, often termed hawala. None of the extortion money is collected through a bank account. So, these officers use Havalas and angadia to do their job, it’s like you scratch my back I’ll scratch yours. Angadia gives them fund transfer facilities and cops assure them of uninterrupted business, some cops even charge for the same as once underworld goons used to charge from builders and businessmen for no fear of life. Hawala is the concealment of the origins of illegally obtained money, typically through transfers involving foreign banks or legitimate businesses. Since Hawala money is found to be spent on terrorist activities most of the countries tightened the bolts on it.
Hawala is also used to transfer black money acquired to another country where it is used to buy properties, start businesses etc. affecting the origin of the country where that black money is earned.
Hawala is an interesting concept that appears to be logically correct but it is a crime as it ruins the nations. From election funds of neta to extortion money of cops and criminals, angadia plays a major role. In such a scenario who will bell the cat?