NEW DELHI: Luo Sang aka Charlie Peng, the Chinese national being questioned by the income-tax department in the Rs 1,000-crore hawala racket, was arrested in 2018 by Special Cell of Delhi Police on allegations of espionage and other related offences.
TOI was the first to report about his arrest on September 21, 2018 following his suspicious visits to northeastern states and Himachal Pradesh, which ultimately led police to the hawala racket.
The cops had seized Aadhaar cards and a passport from him. While the Aadhaar cards, with addresses of Dwarka in Delhi and Manipur, were made in the name of Charlie Peng, the passport was issued in Manipur in the name of Vanlalrinchhani Khawlhring.
Peng, who was living in DLF Gurgaon, was running a company from a plush office in the same area. A Fortuner SUV, Rs 3.5 lakh in Indian currency, $2,000 and 22,000 in Thai currency were also seized.
The probe revealed that Peng, born in 1978, illegally entered India from Nepal in 2014 and married a woman from Northeast India. During interrogation, he took the cops on a wild goose chase by cooking up stories ranging from him being a persecuted refugee from Tibet to being a convicted criminal from China on the run. He claimed to be a high-ranking Chinese army official. He finally confessed to being a trained spy and was arrested on September 13. Peng claimed that he had been tasked by his handlers in the Chinese security department to infiltrate the core group of the Dalai Lama and frequently visit Himachal Pradesh as a devotee. He was allegedly providing logistical support to Chinese embassy officials apart from covertly running shell firms and peddling money through hawala. His main task, Peng claimed, was to facilitate finances for Chinese entities. However, police could hardly find any evidence and he was charged with forgery, cheating and impersonation under Indian Penal Code and under the Passport Act, and got bail a year ago. He then allegedly set up new shell firms and came under the scanner of the income-tax department. Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) started investigations in this case after receiving inputs that a few Chinese individuals and their Indian associates were involved in money laundering and hawala transactions through a series of shell entities. Raids revealed that at the behest of Chinese nationals, more than 40 bank accounts had been created in the name of dummy entities, which entered into credits of more than Rs 1,000 crore. Incriminating documents of hawala transactions and money laundering with active involvement of bank employees and chartered accountants have been found, a source claimed. Evidences of foreign hawala transactions involving Hong Kong and US dollars have also been unearthed.
Courtesy – timesofindia.indiatimes.com/