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NIA to investigate currency rackets

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) will also probe fake currency note rackets.

Primarily created to probe terror links across the country, the NIA has been asked to go after the “syndicate” involved in pumping in and circulating fake Indian currency notes in Bihar.

Sources in the police headquarters said the NIA has already started taking up investigation of cases related to circulation of counterfeit notes in the state.

The new system has been put in place after certain amendments in the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, (UAPA) 1967. Under the new provision, the fake Indian currency notes has been brought under the ambit of the UAPA and the NIA has been assigned to probe the cases.

Earlier, different central agencies, especially the directorate of intelligence revenue (DRI), were assigned to launch a crackdown on the groups responsible for pumping the fake currency notes into Indian territory either from Nepal or Bangladesh border. After the seizure of the consignments, the cases used to be handed over to the district police for investigation.

“With Bihar fast turning out to be a nerve centre of circulation of fake currency notes, the NIA has focused its attention on the well-oiled syndicate of fake notes. Fake notes with face value of Rs 30 lakh were seized from different parts of the state from January to December in 2013. At least nine persons were arrested in that connection,” a senior police officer said.

The police officer, however, added that the situation was not so alarming in Bihar as being projected at the national level. “The circulation of fake notes has become a challenge for the state police. We have limited resources and don’t have expertise in dealing with such cases. The NIA would be able to destroy the network as happened with the Ranchi module of the Indian Mujahideen,” he added.

An NIA officer, who was closely monitoring the developments in Patna and Bodhgaya serial blasts, said the NIA officers interrogated one Ram Chandra Hazra, who was arrested by the DRI officials from Muzaffarpur on Saturday with fake currency notes with face value of Rs 1 lakh. Hazra, a resident of Ratnamala village in West Champaran, was intercepted when he was going to Bettiah from Patna in a bus.

During interrogation, Hazra (30) admitted that he had smuggled the fake notes from Bangladesh via Kalia Chowk in Bengal.

“Hazra is an active member of an international syndicate operating between India, Bangladesh and Nepal. He had earlier travelled to Bangladesh to receive the consignments from the country,” an investigating officer said, adding that his interrogation has also pointed to the Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence in pumping the notes through porous borders with Bangladesh and Nepal.

Bettiah and Raxaul in north Bihar have been identified as the main routes of pumping the fake notes from Nepal.