SANTOSHEE GULABKALI MISHRA
The Mumbai police crime branch has invoked the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Act, 2012, in a counterfeit currency case for the first time, slapping charges under the controversial anti-terror legislation against four persons arrested in March.
While the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) – a state agency tasked solely with cracking down on terrorist activities – applied UAPA last month in a fake currency case, in which bogus notes with a face value of Rs 1.36 lakh were seized from four men in Borivali (West) in April, this is the first time the Mumbai police has applied the stringent Act in a counterfeit currency case.
The police filed a chargesheet of around 800 pages on May 22 against the four arrested accused identified as Jaspal Singh (30), Mukesh Singh (40), Dayal Mandal (30), and Dinesh Singh Megh Singh (40).
In a joint operation with the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on March 6, the crime branch had allegedly recovered fake Indian currency notes (FICN) with a total face value of Rs 10.85 lakh from the accused. The decision to apply UAPA in the case was prompted by the high value and quality of the FICN believed to be printed across the border.
“Since the fake currency recovered from the accused has a face value above Rs 1 lakh, we have charged them under relevant sections of the Act. The state government has communicated with the Centre on the investigation in the case and application of the Act,” said a senior Mumbai police officer, who did not wish to be named.
Before the stringent Act was applied in the case, the Crime Branch secured a report from the National Security Press in Nashik on the quality of the FICN seized. “The recovered FICN was sent to National Security Press in Nashik and the report states that these were high quality counterfeit currency notes. The machinery used to print the notes has been procured from abroad,” said the officer.
“One of the arrested accused, Dayal Mandal, hails from West Bengal and he claims that the counterfeit currency was received by him through a wanted accused in the case. It was revealed during interrogation that the FICN was smuggled from Bangladesh and the wanted accused often travelled to the country,” said the officer. The Crime Branch’s Crime Intelligence Unit (CIU) had initially arrested Mukesh Singh, Jaspal Singh and Dayal Mandal, and recovered the FICN from them.
During interrogation, they said they were from Delhi and had come to Mumbai to circulate the fake notes in crowded areas in the western suburbs of the city. They told interrogators that the fake notes were supplied to them by Dinesh Singh, who was arrested subsequently. Further investigations revealed that Dinesh, an estate agent from Delhi, had financed an under-production horror movie through Mukesh.