Mumbai: A shocking news of unethical work practice came to light when the Jet Airways’ air hostess, Deveshi Kulshreshtha, 25, who was allegedly trying to fly to Hong-Kong with a huge amount of foreign currency, allegedly meant for smuggling, wrapped in an aluminium foil was arrested by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) on Monday. This incident happened at the Indira Gandhi International Airport when the woman was carrying forex worth over Rs. 3.34 crore and the flight was ready to onboard passengers.
It is upon proper examination of the baggage that it was found out that she was carrying USD 4,80,200 wrapped up in aluminium foil kept properly in her handbag and her luggage, which has a market value of 3.34 crore. The aluminium foil was wrapped to fool the x-ray machine. She was allegedly paid around Rs. 1 Lakh per trip. It is believed to be her seventh time smuggling of the foreign currency before she was caught by the officials. She has, reportedly, given out names of two more Jet Airways’ employees involved in Hawala network.
During the interrogation by the officials, the woman revealed that she was a carrier of a major international hawala syndicate and added that she had carried the foreign currency many a times for a Delhi-based Hawala operator utilizing the same plan of action. The hawala operator has been identified as Amit Malhotra.
According a senior DRI official, Amit Malhotra had befriended the crew member around six months ago during his flight to India and convinced her to do the smuggling in a foolproof way. “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,” the official added.
Its not only her, the DRI officials suspect other crew members also to be involved in this racket which needs further investigation. And it was revealed that Malhotra was engaged in this illegal business from around one year. He was arrested and a cash of 3 lakh and USD 1600 has been recovered from his residence.
The DRI has also been interrogating Kulshreshtha’s husband who is suspected to be involved in the scandal according to the police. “The wife was earning a lot of money through this laundering activity. It was not possible for the husband to be unaware or not ask her about influx of cash,” said an official. Police are cross checking whether the smuggled money was utilized to buy the gold and the same was sent back to India via illegal channels.
The Jet Airways has said that it would take stringent action against the staff member for having done such a defaming act. A Jet Airways spokesperson stated, “During an inspection by a DRI team, a large sum of foreign currency was recovered from an employee of the airline. The employee has been taken into custody. Based on the investigations and inputs from law enforcement agencies, the airline will take further action.” Jet Airways’ Spokesperson said. He further added, “Jet Airways has a strict code of conduct and zero tolerance towards any action of its employees that contravenes domestic or international laws of the countries into which it operates,”
As per the reports, the accused duo, following their arrest on charges to smuggle out forex, has been sent to two days of judicial custody by the Delhi court on Tuesday. But on request of the DRI to the court, Metropolitan Magistrate Ritu Singh sent Kulshreshtha and Malhotra to Tihar jail where they will be remanded to the judicial custody for two weeks.