Fake currency raid in Pune; Army official, five others arrested

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Pune police crime branch officials arrested six persons, including an Indian Army personnel, during an operation that led to the seizure of fake Indian and foreign currency notes with a face value of at least Rs 43.4 crore and fake US dollars worth Rs 4.2 crore, said a senior official aware of the developments on Wednesday evening.​

The joint operation carried out by the Pune police and the Military Intelligence (MI), had been conducted at Sanjay Park in Vimannagar. According to the official, the operation to count the counterfeit notes is still underway. ​

“After detailed planning with the MI team, a joint operation was carried out today (Wednesday) in which six persons including one serving military person has been detained with multiple denominations of fake Indian and foreign currency. Counting of currency is going on as per the procedure,” read a statement by Bachchan Singh, deputy commissioner of police, Crime, Pune. ​

The arrested six men have been identified as Indian Army jawan Shaikh Alim Gulab Khan, and civilians Sunil Badrinarayan Sarda, Ritesh Ratnakar, Tufail Ahmed Mohammad Ishaq Khan, Abdul Gani Rehmtullah Khan, Abdul Rehman Abdul Gani Khan, according to the police.​

“After counting, Indian currency of various denominations worth Rs 43.4 crore and US dollars worth Rs 4.2 crore has been seized. The quality of the notes will be checked in due course by experts. Many of the notes are marked ‘Children Bank of India’,” read a police statement. ​

The information about the fake currency operation was provided by officials of military intelligence, according to the police. The fake currency notes were in different denominations, including Rs 1,000, which has been demonetised by the central government in 2016.

“Some of these currency notes carried the stamp of ‘Children Bank of India’ and may have been printed before 2016 when the government made the denominations of Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 invalid,” said a defence official aware of the developments on the condition of anonymity.

“The amount (Rs 43.4 crore and Rs 4.2 crore) is excluding the worth of Rs 1,000 notes seized. In most of the notes, instead of Reserve Bank of India, it says ‘Children’s Bank of India’. The purpose seems to be cheating. In the bundle of US dollars, the first note is genuine, the rest are counterfeit. These six men had been working together. The person whom they had offered the fake currency, had informed us,” said Ravindra Shisve, joint commissioner of police, Pune.​

A statement released earlier on Wednesday evening by the defence spokesperson, stated, “Southern Command Intelligence wing along with crime branch Pune carried out a successful joint operation in Vimannagar and busted a fake currency racket on June 10. Six people, including five civilians and a soldier, were apprehended with fake Indian and foreign currency to the tune of approximately Rs 10 crore. At least Rs2 lakh in Indian currency, US dollars equivalent and one fake pistol was recovered during the operation. Individuals have been handed over to the crime branch Pune for interrogation and further investigation is under progress.”​

According to Singh, there were two parties involved. “One party was seeking American dollars while the other party had a supply of Indian (counterfeit) currency. They decided and met at the spot from where they were intercepted,” said Singh.​

The source of the currency is part of the investigation, said police officials. ​

Officials of Unit 4 of the Pune police crime branch along with the Anti-Narcotic Cell (West) worked with inputs provided by officials of Military Intelligence.

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