The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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On fake currency trail, but big fish amiss

Ranchi, Feb. 7: Acting on a tip-off from Jharkhand, Bengal police today claimed to have arrested one of the king-pins of the fake currency trade, Bikas Mandal, from Malda and recovered fake currency worth Rs 7.5 lakh.

Combined with yesterday’s haul in Ranchi, police in both states together claim to have arrested 15 people so far and recovered fake currency worth Rs 12 lakh, claimed Ranchi senior superintendent of police Naresh Prasad Singh.

Raids are continuing in both the states, he said, and expected more arrests. “The haul so far is just the tip of the iceberg,” said the SSP, who claimed that this is the first time a kingpin of the trade has fallen into their hands.

“Earlier, police in several states had arrested agents and sub-agents at the lower end of the chain but this is one rare occasion when Bengal police have arrested a lynchpin based on information provided by us,” said Singh.

Jharkhand police today recovered Rs 2 lakh in fake currency from Lohardaga and Rs 34,000 from a village under Nagri police station, the SSP added.

The arrested agents have confessed, claimed the police, that Malda is a major centre of the trade. Both Sadhan Mandal and Shibnath Mandal confided that whenever the Border Security Force became strict in Malda, it became difficult for them to carry on with the trade and get the fake currency from across the border in Bangladesh.

The breakthrough came after an inspector of the Ranchi police established contact with the agents in January.

He won their confidence by first “buying” fake currency worth Rs 75,000 by paying the agent Rs 50,000 in genuine currency.

The inspector, thereafter, expressed a desire to join the trade and offered to buy more fake currency. After buying several lots of relatively smaller amounts last month, he this month informed the agent that he had mobilised Rs 2 lakh and would like to trade them for fake currency notes.

At the rendezvous point, the inspector was first asked to switch off his cellphone. Then the agent verified and counted the sum that the inspector had carried, before another agent was called in with the fake currency.

Both the agents were arrested by plainclothes policemen, acting on a pre-arranged signal. More arrests followed when the two began to sing.

The trade, said police officers, does not appear to be as lucrative as it had appeared initially. The arrested agents claimed that at Malda they bought the fake currency by paying Rs 240 for a fake note of Rs 500.

If they are to be believed, they have been re-selling it between Rs 250 and Rs 275. Their claims, however, are being verified, said officials.

Since it is an international racket, police officers pointed out, the entire international border is vulnerable.


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