New Delhi: On December 17, 1995, a transport plane drops a huge cache of arms over Purulia district in West Bengal in the middle of the night and vanishes.
The needle of suspicion points to a shadowy religious cult - the anand margis.
Though the link was never established, 12 years later, the anand margis are back in the news. This time, they are charged with money laundering and Hawala.
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) raided three offices of the Anand Margis last week and seized Rs 43 lakh, which is allegedly Hawala money routed through Korea, Singapore and Bali. The ED claims that these are fronts of the anand margis.
"I signed the confessional statement as an eyewitness. There was a lot of money there when the raid happened. I counted up to Rs 10 lakh," says the guard.
Incriminating documents and computers were also seized from the offices located at Patpargan industrial estate, Paharganj and Mayapuri. But now, the margis are distancing themselves from the raided companies.
"These members were expelled recently and this is the first time we are hearing they were raided and our reaction is whoever goes against the law, action should be taken in,'' says the spokesperson for the anand margis.
But what the margis find hard to explain is why their websites still claim links with the ananda marga or that the profits go to charities run by the organisation. In fact, gurukul led was set up just three months ago the ED says, with the ananda marga gurukul's blessings.
The margis earned a reprieve in the Purulia arms drop case for want of evidence. But this time, the ED claims to have a clear cut case linking this front organisation of the anand margis with the hawala trade.