The NIA has cleared all nine persons, arrested in November last year with over Rs 36 crore in old currency notes, of terror financing charges, officials said at New Delhi on Thursday. They had collected the money with the intention of exchanging it, officials in the probe agency said. A special NIA court released them on bail on Thursday, officials said. The National Investigation Agency had arrested seven people from Connaught Place in the national capital on November 6 with 28 cartons, in four vehicles, filled with demonetised currency of Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 notes. The other two men were arrested in Srinagar the same day.
A total of Rs 36.34 crore amount of old currency notes was seized from them. The arrested were Delhi residents Pradeep Chauhan, Bhagwan Singh and Vinod Shreedhar Shetty, Deepak Toprani of Mumbai, Ejajul Hassan of Amroha, Jaswinder Singh of Nagpur, and Jammu and Kashmir residents Umar Mushtaq Dar (Pulwama), Shahnawaz Mir (Srinagar) and Majid Yousuf Sofi (Anantnag).
The probe agency informed the special court here yesterday that the nine had nothing to do with terror financing and wanted to exchange the old currency notes, collected from various places. The nine could not explain how they planned to exchange the old currency, the officials said. NIA informed the court that their “crime” did not fall in the category of offences, which the agency is mandated to probe. The court, it said, may therefore like to take a decision to press charges under Specified Bank Notes (Cessation of Liabilities) Act, 2017.
Section 5 of the Act bars any person from knowingly or voluntarily, holding, transferring or receiving any specified bank note after the expiry of grace period. Any one found guilty is punishable under section 7 with fine that may extend to Rs 10,000 or five times the amount of the face value of the specified bank notes involved in the contravention, whichever is higher.