Yet another suspect linked to the fake currency racket has been arrested from Pune, further fuelling suspicions that an international gang of racketeers operating across the porous India-Bangladesh border is at work. Police identified the suspect as Ibrahim Gaus Mohammed Shaikh (20) of Malda district in West Bengal on the India-Bangladesh border.
Police sub-inspector Rahul Karbhari received a tip-off that a consignment of fake currency notes was about to be offloaded in Pune and a team of Kondhwa police immediately sprung to action and laid a trap, police said. Shaikh was nabbed at a Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Limited (PMPML) bus stop in Kondhwa-Budruk, police said.
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They added that their team recovered 200 fake Indian currency notes (FICN), each of Rs 500 denomination. The fake currency seized from Shaikh added up to Rs 1 lakh, said Kondhwa police. Shaikh was produced in a Cantonment court which remanded him in police custody till April 21 for further questioning and investigation. Shaikh has been booked under section 489 (b) (c ) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), police said.
Police sub-inspector Karbhari is investigating the case. “During interrogation, Shaikh told us he has been coming to Pune for the last five years to deliver fake currency. He says that he came from West Bengal for delivering an FICN consignment to his contact in Pune. They wanted to circulate FICN in Pune market. Investigation is on to know about his contacts in the city. We are probing his connections with the international FICN racketeers operating from the India-Bangladesh border,” said the police.
Police said Malda district is notorious for FICN racket. Investigators believe FICN racketeers have spread their network in big cities including Pune. Police said that it was easier to circulate bogus notes in the urban market.
On March 18, the anti terrorist cell (ATC) of the crime branch of Pune city police had nabbed two persons including a minor boy and another person identified as Faizuddin Ali alias Lalu Taufsar Ali (22) of Malda district, and seized 398 FICN of 500 denomination each. The duo were nabbed under the bridge near the PMC.
FICN circulates despite arrests
Even though arrests have been made in FICN cases in Pune, police said that a huge amount of fake notes is in circulation. A police officer said that a case was registered against three persons last month in connection with fake currency having a “face value” of Rs 60,000 in Kothrud branch of ICICI bank. Dipesh Dave (31) of Raviwar Peth filed the police complaint against Manohar Jat, Sukhdev Choudhary and Mushtaq Shaikh. Police said Dave had lent Rs 5 lakh to Manohar Jat to buy a house. Jat returned Rs 3.5 lakh to Dave. When Dave went to the ICICI bank in Kothrud to deposit the money on March 10, the bank staff detected fake notes, 20 of 1000 denomination and 80 of 500 denomination. Police said many such cases have been registered in the past by various banks after they traced FICN from the money deposited.
Local men enter FICN racket
Police said that racketeers have roped in local men to carry out their operations. On January 14, 2015, Pune police had arrested an auto-rickshaw driver, Santosh Keshav Bachhile (32), in connection with a FICN racket busted in Yerawada. In September-October 2014, Yerawada police arrested Salim Abubakar Shaikh (19), his father Abubakar Kabatulla Shaikh (50) and Marul Abdul Latif Shaikh (21), all from Malda district, for possession of 170 FICN of 1000 denomination each and five notes of 500 denomination each.
A probe revealed that in 2013, Salim and Marul Shaikh hired Bachhile’s auto-rickshaw. They developed friendly relations and lured him into the FICN racket. They paid a good commission to Bachhile after he circulated thousands of FICN in Pune. They introduced him to FICN racketeers in West Bengal. Bachhile started visiting West Bengal to bring FICN consignments. He allegedly emerged as a link between racketeers on the India-Bangladesh border in West Bengal and the operatives in Pune. A probe revealed that Bachhile was once arrested by cops by Samsherganj police along with other FICN racketeers who were held for possession of illegal firearms.