The Meghalaya Police has busted a racket that used chemistry to con people into believing pieces of a special black paper could be turned into currency notes.
The police arrested four persons – two from Boko in Assam and two from Meghalaya capital Shillong – and are hunting others suspected to be involved in this racket.
Fake Indian currency notes smuggled in from Bangladesh had, like the other north-eastern states, been bothering Meghalaya for quite some time. The police sensed a similar racket when they received reports of the paper-to-cash ‘magic’.
“Our team followed the four-member gang and arrested them at Pillankata in Ri-Bhoi district,” superintendent of police (City) Vivek Syiem said from Meghalaya capital Shillong.
Investigations revealed the quartet was using chemical-coated black papers cut into the shape of a Rs 500 currency note to hoodwink unsuspecting customers bitten by the get-rich-quick bug.
“Their modus operandi was to coat genuine cash with black iodide solution and wash it with greenish-blue sodium thiosulphate or hypo that was once popular for developing photographs from negatives in the dark room,” Syiem said.
The gang would then convince customers to buy wads of ordinary currency note-shaped paper coated in black iodide and the chemical solution in a bottle.
A member of the gang, Syiem said, would later bump into the buyer to ensure the bottle is damaged as an insurance against discovering the con and informing the police.
The arrested four said their network extended up to Arunachal Pradesh where no one has seen through their trick yet.
A Meghalaya police officer said the items seized from the quartet included a green laminated paper where solutions were to be applied for demonstration, bottles of sodium thiosulphate solution and 17 bundles of iodide-coated black paper in the shape of a Rs 500 note.
Topping each of these bundles was a genuine Rs 500 note coated with the black chemical.