The Special Operation Group of Bhavnagar arrested one cattle-herder from Thikhariya village and seized counterfeit notes of Rs 1.52 lakh from him late on Tuesday. This is seventh arrest in the alleged racket of printing fake notes that was running from Bhavnagar for the last one month and police have seized counterfeit notes worth more than Rs 2 lakh.
A team of SOG conducted a raid at Thikariya village near Bharuch town late on Tuesday evening and arrested Rana Boliya alias Raju Bharvad (37) after counterfeit notes of Rs 1.52 lakh were found from his possession. Police said that Boliya was a native of Botad district in Saurashtra region and was engaged in rearing buffaloes in Thikariya village after migrating there.
With this, the number of arrests has gone up to seven in the alleged racket of printing fake currency notes. The SOG had busted the alleged racket by raiding an apartment in Madhva Residency on 150 feet Ring Road of Bhavnagar, arresting three men on Friday. The accused were identified as Hardik Vaghela (23), Pradeep Vaghela (21) and Suresh Adesara (20), all residents of Bhavnagar.
Police had recovered ashes and half-burnt fake currency notes of around Rs 10 lakh face value from the apartment building that the accused had hired on on rent. The police had also recovered wads of fake notes worth of Rs 15,000 value hidden by the trio near their home. Based on a complaint filed by SOG, the trio were booked for possessing counterfeit notes and criminal conspiracy by Bharatnagar police station in Bhavnagar.
During the course of interrogation, Hardik confessed before the SOG that he had supplied fake currency notes to Vinu Lohana of Songadh village in Sihor taluka of Bhavnagar, Haresh Bhupatbhai and Manji Solaki—both residents of Bhavnagar city. The SOG had arrested the trio and seized fake currency notes of Rs 47,500 face value from them. SOG says that Lohana runs an ice-cream parlour in Songath, Haresh is a casual labourer, while Solanki is a petrol-pump attendant. The three are presently in judicial custody.
Hardik, who is a science graduate, had also told police that they had given Boliya fake notes of Rs 2.25 lakh face value in two installments. “During primary interrogation, Boliya confessed that he had received fake notes of Rs 25,000 value from Hardik and others against payment of Rs 7000 genuine currency notes. After he successfully put the Rs 25,000 face value fake currency notes into circulation, he accepted another batch of counterfeit notes of Rs 2 lakh face value more by paying Hardik Rs 60,000,” Sandipsinh Chudasama, in-charge police sub-inspector of SOG said on Wednesday.
Police said that Boliya had dumped fake note of around Rs 40,000 face value in Narmada river after Hardik and his two accomplices were arrested by SOG. “Boliya was stuck in a traffic jam when local police were doing local vehicle checking. Boliya apprehended that the checking was to arrest him since his suppliers had already been arraigned. Therefore, he claimed, he threw fake currency notes of around Rs 40,000 to Rs 50,000 face value into Narmada river while crossing the Golden Bridge,” the SOG PSI further said.
SOG claims that Boliya, Lohana, Haresh and Solanki have confessed to have put in circulation around Rs 40,000 worth of counterfeit notes in around a month since when Hardik and the two others started printing those notes. Incidentally, Local Crime Branch (LCB) of Amreli had arrested two men after seizing counterfeit notes of Rs 1.10 crore face value from them near Amreli town on May 24. One of the person has been identified as Sachin Parmar, a resident of Koliyak in Bhavnagar. The SOG says that Hardik and Sachin were once room-partners and were working together till around a month ago when Hardik also decided to run his own ring. “Sachin and Hardik had met Boliya in Rajkot after the old currency notes of Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 denominations were demonetised last November. They could not strike a deal at that time but had exchanged phone numbers,” Chudasama further said.
The SOG says that modus operandi of the two gangs was the same. They used scanned genuine notes of Rs 500 or Rs 2,000 denomination, take multiple print outs of the scanned copies, stamp such notes for water marking and then paste security threads so that they look genuine. Then, they would supply such notes at around 70 per cent discount of their face value. SOG officer further say that Hardik had learned the trick of printing fake currency notes from Sachin and therefore Sachin has also been named as accused in the FIR filed with Bharatnagar police station.