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Gang caught with fake note machine

Jaigaon, Oct. 29: After spending nearly a year duping unsuspecting people by taking their original currency and replacing them with double the value in counterfeit notes, a gang led by a woman was rounded up by Nagrakata police last evening.

Minu Sarkar, 32, her husband, Safia Sarkar, 35, Bijoy Sharma, 31, and Sirajul Islam, 30, were picked up from Chhartudu village, about 10km from the Nagrakata police station.

Police said they had received reports that for the past few days many people were making a beeline for Minu’s house. Last evening, all four were arrested after a raid led by officer-in-charge of Nagrakata police station Sudipto Sarkar. The police have seized five mobile phones and equipment, chemicals and paper used to counterfeit notes.

The Jalpaiguri superintendent of police, Tripurari, said over phone that the four were caught red-handed. The quartet was produced before the Jalpaiguri court, which remanded them in judicial custody for 14 days.

Ramen Das, a resident of Chhartudu, said visitors to Minu’s house also included some Bhutanese.

Police said the confidence tricksters first lured unsuspecting people with the claim that they would double whatever currency note was handed over to them.

“At first they took notes of 50 and 100 denominations. They left the customers waiting and went to another room, where the machine had been set up. They brought back double the amount in fake notes,” one of the investigating officers said.

He said after gaining the “confidence” of the victims, Minu and her gang started taking larger sums of money and after a few days handed over double the amount in counterfeit cash. “They even gave bundles of cash with a genuine note on top covering the fake ones below it,” the officer added.

Though the Nagrakata police are yet to receive any specific complaint against the racketeers, they are looking at several leads to track down the victims.

“It will be a hard task as no one is coming forward fearing reprisals from gang members who are still at large,” the investigating officer said. He said they are questioning people to find out the exact extent of the fraud perpetrated by the gang.

Sources said there were several cases against Minu at police stations like Birpara and Kalchini in the Dooars for her alleged involvement in trafficking and prostitution rackets.

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