| A television grab shows the seized currencies. (PTI)
Mumbai, Dec. 1: The stamp paper scam has got bigger and murkier with 90-100 cartons of fake currencies from at least 17 countries — and filling one whole room — being found in a residential area of Nashik.
The dump, located by a Zee News team, has confounded and embarrassed both police and the government.
It was found in the CIDCO colony house of Abhay Bansal alias Prasoon Agarwal.
Bansal is already in jail for his involvement in the stamp paper racket. But the police did not know about this house though another one belonging to him was raided on November 26 and fake stamps worth Rs 72 lakh recovered.
Aghast at the latest twist in the Telgi scam, deputy chief minister Chhagan Bhujbal ordered an inquiry.
He demanded to know why neither the special investigation team nor the police knew anything about it.
The currency notes — from India, Pakistan, Holland, Zambia, Bangladesh and Burma among other countries — were fresh and crisp.
Each bundle was neatly secured with plastic strips and meticulously packed in transparent polythene packets stacked into cartons the size of television sets and shoeboxes.
The stamps were packed in smaller boxes. The cartons were secured with tapes and staples and looked ready to leave the country.
Rolls of printing paper available only at government run presses were also found in the room. As the India Security Press at Nashik is close by, there are fears the rolls may have been smuggled out.
The paper on which stamps and money are printed is so exclusive that not all countries possess it.
Sources said Telgi’s contacts in the press could have smuggled out the consignment. Some machines used in printing stamps and currency notes were also found.
What has surprised a lot of people is that Bipin Kumar Singh, the officer who raided Bansal’s other house in Nashik, left this one untouched. Singh said he was unaware of the dump.
The CBI is investigating the role of the press and a few of its staff and officers have been arrested.
Details of the seizure are awaited as a police team that reached the site late in the evening refused comment.
The police, however, did say they would first have to ascertain if some of the currencies were genuine or fake. It was also not known if the consignment was set to leave the country or had just come in.
Nashik police commissioner Prabhakar Lohar said the panchanama on the seizure began at 9.30 pm and it was yet to be ascertained if the currencies were fake. The Indian currency seemed genuine, he said, adding the room was being used as a godown.