KOCHI: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday conducted raids in two houses at Puthuppally in Kottayam and a bakery at Manarcad in connection with the case against AL Zarafa Travels and Manpower Consultant for charging excessive fees from nurses recruited for job in Kuwait.
The raids were conducted in the residence of AL Zarafa Travels owner M V Varghese alias Uthup Varghese, the residence of his close ally and a bakery in which Uthup has invested money.
According to ED officials, they have launched an investigation under Prevention of Money Laundering Act, after the Income Tax Department and the CBI registered cases against the recruitment agency,
“When the team arrived at Uthup’s residence at Puthuppally, it was found locked. The raid at the residence of Uthup’s friend, who is a document writer, started at 8 am and lasted till evening. Vital documents pertaining to properties, investments and the financial transaction made by Uthup were recovered,” said ED officials.
Later, the ED officials conducted raid at the Manarcad unit of a well-known bakery and restaurant chain. The officials said Uthup had invested money in the business. “It has to be confirmed whether the investment for setting up the bakery was made from the money collected illegally from the nurses. We have information that Uthup has invested is several other businesses across the country. Meanwhile, the allegations of ‘hawala’ transactions by the recruitment agency need to be looked into,” they added.