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Big fish of fake currency racket slip through police net,small fry held

Pune second in list of fake note seizures in 2011; most arrested came from Malda in Bengal

Written by Chandan Haygunde | Published: July 11, 2012 1:18:10 am

Pune second in list of fake note seizures in 2011; most arrested came from Malda in Bengal

None of the suspects arrested by the Pune city police for circulation of fake Indian currency notes (FICN) since 2008 was found to be the “kingpin” of the racket. Most of those arrested were individuals from poor families who were promised small sums by the racketeers for circulating the fake notes in urban markets.

A few claim that they were “implicated” in police cases just because some of the currency notes they deposited in banks were found to be fake.

As per information obtained by The Indian Express from the Pune city police under the Right to Infomation (RTI) Act,between January 2008 and April 2012,166 cases of FICN circulation were registered,but only 49 people were arrested.

Of these arrested people,23 hail from West Bengal,including 21 from Malda district,allegedly the hub of the FICN racket in India. Others arrested include individuals from Jharkhand,Bihar,Rajasthan,besides Pune and Mumbai. Persons from two foreign countries — Iran and Oman — too were arrested.

The city police arrested 17 suspects in 2008,seven in 2009 and six in 2010. The highest number of arrests (19) was in 2011. The same year,five minor boys were detained. In 2012,five cases were registered but no arrests were made.

Of those held in 2011,eight persons and five minors,all hailing from Malda,were booked in three cases registered at Samarth,Faraskhana and Bund Garden police stations. Police recovered Rs 3.93 lakh in FICN from the suspects,which included 117 fake notes of notional denomination Rs 1,000,and 552 notes of notional denomination Rs 500.

Investigations revealed that the suspects got the fake notes from a man called Bullu Akhtar Abdul Kasim (22),also from Malda. Bullu fled from Pune but was arrested by the Kurla police in Mumbai. Pune Police teams interrogated Bullu and travelled to his native place in Malda for investigation. However,the police could not trace any further links.

Assistant inspector Mohammed Hanif Patel,who arrested Bullu,said the latter had cases registered against him in Pune,Mumbai and Nagpur,but he was a small link in the chain. “Those working above Bullu could not be traced. It is a highly organised crime. Bullu and his aides had deposited Rs 2 lakh at Punjab National Bank (PNB) in Pune,which they had earned from FICN circulation. The money was withdrawn within minutes by the racketeers in other parts of country. We sealed the account in PNB but could not locate the account holder,one Abdul Rehman in Malda,” he said.

Inspector Bhagwant Ingle said,“Racketeers brought poor people from Malda to Pune on the pretext of work on telephone lines in city. However,once in Pune,the racketeers engaged them in FICN circulation by promising them a share of the money earned.”

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) arrested some people alleged to be key to the FICN racket from Malda this year. According to government figures,in 2011,nearly 85 per cent of the FICN seized in India was from Maharashtra. Mumbai recorded the largest number of seizures of fake currency,followed by Pune.

‘DIDN’T KNOW I HAD FICN,WAS HARASSED’

Rajni Shinde,an entrepreneur from Pimpri,claims that she was implicated in an FICN case in 2009. In June that year,when her employee went to the State Bank of India in Chinchwad to deposit money,12 fake notes of Rs 500 denomination were found. The bank lodged a complaint against her at Chinchwad police station,and Shinde was booked under Section 489 (b) of the Indian Penal Code for circulating fake currency.

“I did not know that the money we were depositing had fake notes. My family and I suffered a lot because of the case. I obtained anticipatory bail and spent about Rs 2 lakh in the legal battle that went on for about a year. The judgment was,however,in my favour,” Shinde told The Indian Express.

“High quality FICN are being circulated. It is difficult for the common man to identify these notes,” said advocate Sushil Mancharkar.

Banks have stopped complaining against genuine customers,and inform the police only about suspicious persons. They now either destroy fake notes or cancel and return them to customers.

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