The city police busted a fake currency racket with international links after arresting a man on Sunday at Kakdwip, in South 24-Parganas. Charu Market police station officers seized fake Indian currency notes of Rs 500 denomination adding up to Rs 6 lakh, genuine Bangladeshi currency to the tune of Rs 80,000 and 1,850 Kuwaiti dinars.
They, however, failed to track down the kingpin of the racket. “We believe he is now abroad — may be in Bangladesh,” said an official of the police station. Officer-in-charge (OC) Subrata Banerjee said Sunday’s arrest was the fall-out of a raid carried out three days ago in the Entally area. “Last Thursday, we arrested five persons at a place on AJC Bose Road. One youth, identified as Sudipta Basu, was detained by residents of Tollygunge Road when he paid a fake Rs 500 note to a grocery shop-owner. After interrogating him, we held his four accomplices and seized 76 fake Rs 500 notes from them,” said Banerjee.
Police came to know from them that the counterfeit currency was being smuggled into the city from Kakdwip. “The fake currency notes were stocked in the Kakdwip house of Ujjal Mandal,” said the OC.
An eight-member team from Charu Market police station, led by OC Banerjee, left for Kakdwip late on Saturday. “It was 3 am when we reached Mandal’s two-storey house,” said the OC. The gate was unlocked. The policemen stormed into the room where Mandal was sleeping. Bundles of currency notes covered with a sheet were found on a bed in the adjacent room.
Mandal was not the mastermind of the racket. “We have found out the name of the king-pin but it cannot be disclosed for the sake of investigation. The fake currency notes are being smuggled into Calcutta from Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan. A number of people in North Bengal are involved in the racket,” said an official of Charu Market police station.
After interrogating Mandal, police came to know he used to supply fake notes to his agents in the city. The agents would buy a fake note of Rs 500 for Rs 50. Others — believed to be criminals operating in and around the city — had to pay Rs 300 to the agent. So, the agents would make a profit of Rs 250 on a note of Rs 500 denomination.
“We have contacted other police stations and told them to inform us as soon as they arrest anyone involved in a fake currency racket,” said Banerjee.