It was trouble right from the start. The first floor had collapsed twice during the construction forcing the contractor to rebuild the building.
In outer Delhi’s Bawana Industrial area, D60 – the building with two iron doors — which police alleged was being used to illegally make counterfeit coins was built seven months ago. The building had iron grills on all its windows — covered with thick brown curtains — making it impossible for anyone to see anything inside.
The two-storey building was out of bounds for everyone except seven-eight men who worked there.
“We were told it is a chemical factory. The men who worked there did not interact with us,” said Ramprakash, who works in a nearby factory.
On Sunday, police caught Naresh Kumar with fake coins worth Rs6 lakh. Kumar broke down during questioning and led police to the building where the coins were counterfeited.
Built in a lane that has two-three storey buildings, next to D60 is a similar building, where plastic is manufactured. One of the workers who work there said, “All labourers interact with each other here but the people who worked at the coin factory kept to themselves. They even cooked their meals inside. It was strange but we never thought they were minting coins,” Ramprakash said.
GUTKA - THE ONLY CONTACT
The only contact the workers at the factory had with the outside world was because of their addiction to gutka and paan. A teenager, who delivered gutka to the labourers inside, said that the workers came out of the premises to collect gutka and paan. “They used to call me from the terrace and ask for gutka. They would hurriedly come down, take the pouches and close the door. Nobody here has seen them shopping for vegetables or milk,” the teenager said.
On Sunday, police said that the gang had counterfeited over R 10 lakh in fake Rs 5 and Rs 10 coins till date but no local in D block had a whiff of the racket. Labourers, who work in nearby factories, said they often saw workers loading buckets inside cars. The buckets were always covered with thick blankets.
“Now we know that the coins were being carried in buckets. Even the cars that came here would be parked in such a way that their boots were hidden and no one would be able to see,” said another local.
A WOMAN WHO CAME DAILY
A woman, probably in her mid 30s, was often spotted entering the factory in a Swift Dzire or a scooter. “She was the only woman who came to that building. She did not interact with anyone and always took a packet or two while returning,” said Manoj.
Police have so far arrested only one man in the case. On Monday, a team of officers interrogated the workers at the factory. Police said they are yet to formally arrest the workers. Police are also on the lookout for the building owner, Rajesh Kumar.