Updated: September 24, 2021 10:13:26 pm
A sessions court on Thursday convicted a man for possession of counterfeit currency while acquitting him of terror charges. Rafiqul Shaikh was sentenced to the period he has already spent in jail since his arrest over six years ago.
Shaikh, a 27-year-old labourer, was arrested in 2015 by the Mumbai Police crime branch on charges pertaining to counterfeit currency, criminal conspiracy of the Indian Penal Code and Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
The police said that they had received a tip-off that Shaikh was carrying counterfeit currency following which they conducted a search on him and claimed to have recovered a total of 159 notes of Rs 1,000 each. The police submitted before the court that a purchase receipt from a shop, from where Sheikh had bought a dress material worth Rs 1,000, was found on him. The police also seized the substandard Rs 1,000 note in question from the shop.
During the trial, the court said that the receipt did not have any tax details and serial numbers and hence termed it “doubtful” evidence. Police said the defence had not given any plausible reason for why they would falsely implicate Sheikh. The court also said that while the accused had claimed that he had no idea that the notes were counterfeit, the appearance of the notes was such that “even an unknowledgeable person could have realised that the notes were of a substandard quality”.
The court, however, said that there was no evidence to show the act of possessing the notes was a terrorist act committed by the accused with an intention to damage the monetary stability of India.
“Unless such evidence is given by the prosecution, the charge relating to ‘terrorist act’ as per the definition could not be proved,” the court said.
Shaikh’s defence lawyer had said that he was in his early 20s when he was arrested and that his age should be taken into consideration to give him the benefit under Probation of Offenders Act. The court said that this plea cannot be considered as the offence was not against an individual but one “affecting public financial system”.
It ordered for Shaikh to be released from prison if not required in any other case, considering the period he has already spent in jail as his punishment term.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.