New Delhi, 24 Nov : The Nagaland member of Parliament’s son-in-law was arrested after missing cash of over Rs 3.5 crore in demonetised notes was recovered on Wednesday which was after being ferried by a chartered flight.
The cash reportedly disappeared from Dimapur on Tuesday.
The CISF seized the money and handed over to Income tax department officials, who forwarded the money to it the claimant, Naga businessman Anato Zhimomi, after he produced an I-T exemption certificate.
Zhimomi is the son-in-law of Neiphiu Rio, the only Lok Sabha member from the state who backs the BJP government at the Centre.
Income tax and intelligence officials in Delhi suspected that the seized Rs 3.5 crore could be part of a big money laundering racket, with the masterminds exploiting tax exemptions for tribals in the northeast and non-existent security at smaller airports.
As per the probe led by the I-T department, some businessmen including the Gurgaon-based owner of a printing and packaging firm, allegedly roped in Anato Zhimomi, who claimed the seized money after producing an I-T exemption certificate, and took advantage of the absence of security at a small airfield in Hisar to haul at least Rs 11 crore in outlawed denominations of 500 and 1,000 to Dimapur by a chartered plane.
Anato’s father Khekiho Zhimomi also served as a member of the Rajya Sabha from the Naga People’s Front party.
Anato, who has been arrested, was about to transfer the money back into the account of the businessmen through RTGS.
I-T officials have already tracked another Rs 7 crore allegedly deposited by Anato in his Axis Bank account in Dimapur.
According to the sources in I-T department, Anato had admitted to have transferred cash thrice from Hisar to Dimapur by the same plane on November 12, 14 and 21.
Besides, tax officials have also inquired with Anil Sood, the Gurgaon-based owner of a printing and packaging firm, in whose bank account Anato had been making transfers via RTGS after cash was deposited in his Dimapur account. The proprietor of the airline is also under the scanner, with the I-T department to ascertain that the last cash shipment belonged to the former.
The incident has raised alarming concerns over the absence of security at the airfield belonging to Hisar Flying Club – something which the group capitalised on.
However, as per the probe those involved in shipping cash faced no questions as they loaded their cargo onto the aircraft chartered from Air Car Airlines. “Today, this is a case of money laundering. Tomorrow, any terrorist can similarly fly from an unscheduled airfield to land at a scheduled commercial airport to wreak havoc,” said an official source.