One of the two suspected masterminds behind the fake coin racket in north India was arrested by the Delhi Police Special Cell late Monday night. Sweekar Luthra, 39, is accused of having minted fake coins with face value of crores by setting up units in Delhi, Haryana and Rajasthan.
Police said Sweekar had been using a phone number from Thailand to evade arrest. Fake Rs 5 and Rs 10 coins with a face value of Rs 17,390 were recovered from him.
Sweekar is the younger of two brothers who allegedly set up an extensive fake coin manufacturing business, which pumped Rs 10-12 lakh in the Indian and foreign markets even after the brothers went absconding in October, police said. The elder brother, Upkaar Luthra, 44, is still on the run, police said.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (special cell) Sanjeev Yadav said Sweekar was arrested from west Delhi’s Uttam Nagar. “He was in a Celerio car when he was caught. He is wanted in several cases related to minting of counterfeit coins and also for allegedly murdering his partner in Bihar,” said Yadav.
Sources said the brothers changed their location frequently and sometimes spent the night in the car. They would regularly change cars, and not reveal their hideout to even their associates. The phone number Sweekar was using was procured when he went to Thailand.
“In October, a racket involving counterfeit coins was busted and two racketeers, Gulshan and Sachin, were arrested. The kingpins were identified as brothers Sweekar and Upkaar,” said Yadav.
Sweekar, a native of Punjab, told police that in 1997, his elder brother came in contact with one Gulshan Gambhir from Dehradun, who gave him the idea to enter the fake coin business. Upkaar then established a unit in Nangli Sakrawati and started producing fake Rs 5 coins.
In 1999, Upkaar was arrested at Connaught Place, but he did not disclose Sweekar’s name. Soon after being released, Upkaar established another unit, before being arrested again.
Police said that every time he would be released from jail, Upkaar, with Sweekar’s help, would establish a new unit.
A monetary dispute led to the murder of one of their associates, Satish, in Bihar, police said.
In 2011, Sweekar was arrested, but after being released, got into the business yet again. His partner, Ramesh Verma, was allegedly shot dead in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur in 2015, police said.