In what highlights brazen highhandedness of police in dealing with cases of counterfeit currency, two ITBP personnel - arrested on May 17 for possessing fake currency of Rs 91,000 - were let off on Monday after the Reserve Bank of India verified the seized currency and found it to be genuine.
A court dropped the charges framed against Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) head constable Nain Singh and company havildar major Amar Singh on an application moved by UT police. Sector-31 police station house officer (SHO) Jaspal Singh had arrested them on Friday, claiming to have busted a fake currency racket.
The arrests were made on a complaint by the manager of a State Bank of India (SBI) branch at Air Force Station, Ekta Mahajan. RBI assistant general manager Pawan Kumar Lamba confirmed that the notes were genuine. Based on the RBI report, UT police had moved an application, seeking the dropping of charges against the ITBP men on Monday.
ITBP inspector general (IG) Kirpa Ram Negi described the incident as a police blunder. "They should have registered a case after verifying the notes. Both our men were responsible personnel of the ITBP. We had suspended them following their arrest," said the IG.
Negi said they had taken up the issue with the director general of ITBP in New Delhi. "Senior police officials must act against such irresponsible officers," the IG said.
However, UT inspector general of police (IGP) RP Upadhyaya said his men followed protocol. "We registered the case on receiving a complaint. During investigation, it was found that currency was original. The two were let off after verifying the facts."
THE CASE IN A NUTSHELL
Inquiries revealed that Amar Singh had drawn salaries of 70 ITBP personnel totalling Rs 11 lakh from Jalandhar on May 16. The 70 personnel had come for training at Ramgarh, Panchkula. Of them, 23 gave Rs 3 lakh to Amar and Nain Singh to deposit the money in their respective accounts at the SBI branch. However, branch manager Ekta Mahajan found 91 currency notes of the one thousand denomination to be fake and called the police. RBI later found the notes to be genuine.
COPS PASS BUCK ON BANK
Talking to HT, DSP (crime branch) Satbir Singh said the case had been registered on wrong information given by the branch manager. "During investigation, it was found that no offence was made out," he said.
However, a senior ITBP official said the police did make enough efforts to investigate the matter before registering a case. "If the ITBP had not sought help of the RBI, our men would have continued to face harassment," he said. Facing embarrassment by registering a case on "false information", UT police are now contemplating to take action against SBI officials.
A source in police said bank officials failed to detect the genuineness of the note, thus leading to the registration of the case and getting the ITBP personnel arrested. All attempts to contact SBI bank officials were in vain.