Faced with charges of malicious prosecution, the State Bank of India (SBI) and UT police are now blaming each other for arresting two Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) personnel on charges of possessing fake currency notes that were actually genuine.
On Wednesday, in reply to the defamation suit filed by ITBP head constable Nain Singh and company hawaldar major (CHM) Amar Singh, the UT police denied allegations of a shoddy investigation into the matter.
The two ITBP personnel had been arrested and kept in police custody for two days only to be released later after the currency notes proved to be genuine.
The reply filed on behalf of the investigating officer (IO) Randhir Singh and the then station house officer (SHO) of Sector-31 police station Jaspal Singh, claimed that they were not at fault and had acted on a complaint by SBI’s air force station branch manager Ekta Mahajan alleging that the two personnel concerned were carrying fake currency notes.
On March 13, SBI and branch manager, Ekta Mahajan , claimed that the FIR against the two ITBP personnel was lodged according to a Reserve Bank of India (RBI) circular, which mandated registering an FIR in case bank officials detected fake currency notes. The bank has denied any fault on its behalf and claimed that if there was any lapse, it was on the part of the police.
Head constable Nain Singh and CHM Amar Singh filed a suit seeking compensation of Rs 15 lakh each, against UT home secretary Anil Kumar, inspector general of police RP Upadhyaya, senior superintendent of police Naunihal Singh, SHO Jaspal Singh and investigating officer sub-inspector Randhir Singh as well as SBI branch manager Ekta Mahajan.
The suit was filed after the UT police team led by SHO Jaspal, on May 17, 2013, arrested the two personnel, claiming to have busted a ‘fake currency racket’ and recovered ‘fake’ notes worth Rs91,000.
CHM Amar Singh had procedurally drawn salaries of 70 ITBP personnel, a total of Rs 11 lakh, from Jalandhar on May 16. Those personnel were here at the Ramgarh centre of the ITBP for a training course. Out of these, 23 personnel had given Rs 3 lakh to the CHM and the head constable to deposit in their accounts at the SBI branch at the Chandigarh air force station.
The branch manager allegedly found that 91 currency notes of Rs1,000 each were ‘fake’, and called the police, who arrested the two men. The police even procured a four-day remand for further interrogation, but when the RBI checked the notes two days later, they were found to be genuine. Based on the report, the judicial magistrate Aashish Saldi, on May 20, discharged both personnel. The case will now come up for hearing on October 16.