In a development indicative of the increasingly superior ‘quality’ of counterfeit 1000-rupee notes being smuggled and circulated in the city, samples of fake currency seized in two separate cases by the Mumbai Police Crime Branch this year have been certified as ‘high quality’ by the Security Press in Nashik. The Crime Branch has now sought the state government’s nod to invoke the stringent Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) in both the cases.
According to Crime Branch sources, the first cache of Rs 4.40 lakh in counterfeit 1000 rupee notes was seized from Reay Road on July 9 this year, while the second cache of Rs 2.05 lakh in fake currency was seized from the LT Marg area on August 8.
“We had sent samples of the fake currency notes recovered in both the cases to the Security Press in Nashik, and they sent a report saying that the notes were of high quality, which means that there are only a few, small differences between the notes and real currency, undetectable to the untrained eye. We have written to the state government asking for permission to invoke the UAPA against the accused in these cases,” said a Crime Branch officer.
Crime Branch sources said the first cases, in which Jomidar Sheikh alias Jamadar had been arrested with three of his accomplices, had raised concerns as investigations had revealed that the gang that Jamadar was working for would send Rs 5 lakh in fake currency every 15 days, and have been active for at least five-six years, leading the Crime Branch to estimate that the gang has pumped crores of rupees in fake currency in the city’s economy till the racket was busted.
Jamadar’s interrogation has also revealed that he had already made three trips with Rs 5 lakh in fake currency before being caught. Prior to that, his job was to receive fake currency brought by another group and circulate it in the city, and he had only been recently ‘promoted’ and entrusted with the responsibility of bringing the currency himself and then circulating it. “Jamadar had to recruit the other three accused into the racket before he was promoted,” the officer said.
In the second case, the Crime Branch had arrested Abubakr Hanif Sheikh (28) with Rs 2.05 lakh in fake 1000 rupee notes on his person from LT Marg this year. The police said the Security Press had certified these currency notes as ‘high quality’ as well.