Take a long hard look at that 100 — or 500 — before pocketing or spending it. It could well be worth nothing but a whole lot of hassle.
The Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) has submitted a report to Calcutta Police, detailing how the city has become a vital link in an “ISI-engineered” fake-currency racket. And the city markets could be flooded with countless counterfeit notes, it warned.
The report, that reached the office of police commissioner Sujoy Chakraborty last week, mentioned how Dhaka is being used as the ‘operation base’ by ISI agents. A copy of the report was also sent to the Special Branch (SB) office.
RAW stitched together the report on the basis of the revelations made by Mohammad Raju, said to be an ISI agent. Officials of Jorasanko police station rounded up Raju on November 9 when he was trying to use a fake Rs-100 note in a local market. Later, the cops recovered 102 fake notes of Rs-100 denomination from him. Raju, 28, is now in the custody of the detective department.
“Initially, we thought Raju was a Bangladeshi national involved in a localised fake currency racket. But RAW’s report has jolted us. Raju appears to be a Pakistani national who has been frequenting the city. This is the tip of a massive counterfeit operation run across the country,” said a senior official at the Lalbazar on Wednesday.
“Raju visited Calcutta three or four times every year. Each time, his route would be Karachi-Dhaka-Calcutta. His boss, Mohammad Alamgir, lived in the Gulistan area of Dhaka. Alamgir, too, has been in the city four times. He stayed in a particular hotel in central Calcutta every time,” the official added.
From Bangladesh, Raju would cross the Benapol-Petrapol border and enter Bongaon to circulate several lakhs worth of fake Indian currency throughout Calcutta
According to officials of the Subsidiary Intelligence Bureau (SIB), who also interrogated Raju, he had appointed four agents in the city. “Raju was running the racket for the past 12 years,” said an SIB official.
According to officials at Lalbazar, Raju had three passports. “He obtained a Pakistani passport and a Bangladeshi passport, before managing an Indian one,” stated the official.
Raju has revealed how he would collect the fake notes, supplied by a Kathmandu-based businessman, from Dhaka.
Another route being used to flood city markets with fake notes is through the Sunderbans, police said.