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Malda fake note haul

Malda, Oct. 12: The Border Security Force seized fake Indian notes with a face value of Rs 20 lakh, purportedly the largest ever haul of counterfeit currencies by the paramilitary wing, from the Bangladesh border in Kaliachak last night and arrested a man.

Kausar Shiekh was arrested from Mohabbatpur village in Kaliachak, about 30km from here, when he was collecting the notes near the border.

The inspector-general of the BSF’s Malda frontier, Amarjeet Singh, said the jawans patrolling the area had found someone lobbing the packets from across the fence on the Bangladesh side last night.

“The jawans approached the fence and caught a man who was picking up the currencies from the Indian side. They seized six packets containing the counterfeit rupees. The notes were of 1,000 and 500 denominations. We are interrogating the arrested youth before handing him over to the police,” Singh said.

He added that Kausar had said during the interrogation that fake notes with a face value of Rs 50 lakh was supposed to be smuggled in.

“He couldn’t say where the rest of the notes were. However, he has told us that in the past week, counterfeit notes with a face value of Rs 2 to 3 crore had been smuggled out of Bangladesh into India through the border at Kaliachak,” said Singh.

“This person has direct links to an international gang that is involved in smuggling fake notes. He has even visited Bangladesh. He has identified the person lobbing the packets as one Munshi Sheikh, a resident of Shibganj at Campai in Nababganj district of Bangladesh. He said the notes were smuggled when we change our border guards between 7pm and 8pm.”

According to the inspector-general, the fake notes of Rs 20 lakh would have fetched Rs 12 lakh. One lakh in fake notes was worth Rs 60,000 in genuine Indian currency, the rate that the smuggling racket adhered to.

The deputy commandant of the BSF’s Malda frontier, Pravinpratap Singh, said the arrest and the recovery of the notes had been conveyed to the National Investigation Agency and the Central Bureau of Investigation as well as the Union home ministry.

“A team from the NIA is coming to Malda in connection with the fake currency racket. We have seized fake notes with a face value of Rs 14 lakh so far this year at Kaliachak. But last night’s seizure is the largest we have ever made,” said the deputy commandant.

Later in the evening, the arrested youth was handed over to a team of officers from the NIA who arrived in Kaliachak. “The NIA team will interrogate him and hand him over to the police,” said Pravinpratap Singh.