The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has seized cash totalling Rs.1.20 crore besides foreign currency during raids on some suspected hawala dealers in Punjab.

Sources in the agency said sleuths raided two business firms and their associates in Ludhiana and Jalandhar as they were found to be indulging in large-scale channelling of hawala funds in India on the directions of people based in the U.K., Canada, Dubai and other foreign shores.

Hawala is an illegal mode of money transfer in which criminal elements evade the normal banking and cash transactions channel to avoid being detected and paying taxes.

The agency has widened its probe against a host of other individuals and businessmen whose names have figured in the documents seized during the searches and they may be routing illegal funds through these two firms to foreign shores, they claimed.

The agency estimates that the racket, running across Punjab and a few other North Indian States, could be to be tune of Rs.200 crore. Hawala instances are regulated and probed under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA). - PTI