Fake currency racket busted in Pune, Muslim soldier among six arrested

The Military Intelligence (MI) and Pune Crime Branch conducted a joint operation to seize 55 crores rupees worth of fake currency from a bungalow located in Sanjay Park of Pune’s Vimannagar area on Wednesday. The notes include both Bharatiya and US currency.

Of the six men who have been taken into custody in connection with the case is a serving Lance Naik who belongs to the military band of the Bombay Engineering Group. Police have arrested Lance Naik Shaikh Alim Gulab Khan Sahab (36) and Sunil Badrinarayan Sarda (45) from Pune, Ritesh Ratnakar (43) and Abdul Rehman Adul Ganik Khan (18) from Kamote and Abdul Gani Rehmatullah Khan (45) and Tufail Ahmed Mohammad Ishaq Khan from Mira Road.

As per the press statement released while the police estimated the face value to be around 55 crores, the Army Southern Command estimated the face value to be about 10 crores rupees. According to one of the police officers, the offenders intended to circulate the fake notes along with real ones as Rs 2.5 lakhs worth actual currency was also recovered from the bungalow.

The action was initiated after a tip-off was received from Jammu and Kashmir MI officials and Southern Command. The City Joint Commissioner of Police Ravindra Shisve was duly informed before the operation. The six men are being interrogated with regard to the source of fake currency and other details.

In his statement to ToI, DCP (Crime) Bachchan Singh said that at the time of issuing the statement 43.4 crore Bharatiya currency and 4.2 crores US dollars of various denominations had been seized and counting was underway. He also stated that expert help was expected soon to determine the quality of the notes, many of which were marked ‘Children Bank of India’.

The Army Southern Command press release stated that a joint operation conducted by the Southern Command Intelligence wing and Pune Crime Branch had successfully busted a fake currency racket. Five civilians and a soldier have been caught with fake Bharatiya and foreign currency to the tune of 10 crores rupees and that a pistol was also recovered during the operation.

According to ACP Ashok Morale as per the investigations conducted thus far it has come to light that Lance Naik Alim, who had rented the bungalow about eight months ago from its owner Ganesh Shinde at a monthly rental of around Rs 23000, had brought the fake currency to Pune. He then enlisted the help of Abdul Gani to exchange the notes and US dollars in the market on a commission basis. Gani deputed his son and the other three men to seek customers.

MI officials who had already received a tip-off were keeping a watch on Gani as they suspected him to be running a fake currency racket. A decoy was sent with cash of Rs 25 lakhs that met Gani near SP College. After checking the genuineness of the notes, Gani took the decoy team to the bungalow in order to finalize the deal. On reaching the bungalow, the team of police officials led by senior inspectors Anjum Bagwan and Rajendra Mohite raided the bungalow.

An army officer on the condition of anonymity stated that MI and Pune police sprung into action after receiving specific input from an informant in a West Asian country that a large consignment of fake currency was being sent to Pune so as to be used for anti-national activities.

The officer also stated that they took the help of a Mumbai based hawala operator who approached one of the suspects with the offer of circulating the notes using his network in several cities including Pune and Mumbai among others. Although the suspects took a few days to respond they ultimately decided to finalize the deal on Wednesday. The officials then laid a trap and caught the accused red-handed.

(Featured Image Source: Times of India)


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