Intelligence officers of the Border Security Force’s (BSF) and Malda police on Monday night arrested a man considered to be one of the key figures in the counterfeit money smuggling ring that thrives across the India-Bangladesh border.
Police cornered the accused, a Bangladeshi citizen, in the Baburhat area in the Malda district of West Bengal. The arrest took place under the Kaliachak police station jurisdiction where a mob attack took place on January 3, an attack police alleged was instigated by fake money smugglers and poppy cultivators.
“We have arrested a Bangladeshi national with fake money of the face value of Rs 8 lakh. We have started an investigation into the incident,” said Malda police superintendent Prasun Banerjee.
On Tuesday, National Investigation Agency (NIA) sleuths appealed before a Malda court for custody of the accused. The NIA is already investigating a couple of cases of fake money in the district and indicated they could follow up on this case as well.
Police sources told Hindustan Times the arrested person has been identified as Enarul Islam, a 40-year-old resident of Shibganj police station area under Chapai Nawabganj district of Bangladesh.
He was found to be in possession of 400 counterfeit notes of the denomination of Rs 1000 and 800 notes of the denomination of Rs 500.
Security officials began tracking Enarul’s movements when they noticed his frequent visits to the country.
“The most interesting part of this case is that Enarul didn’t enter India illegally. He came here with valid passport and other documents. Moreover, this is not the first time that he has come to India with valid documents,” a senior officer of the district police said, adding they had received a tip off about Enarul’s illegal activities in India.
In February 2015, Enarul came to Malda and stayed at Kaliachak for over a month and returned to Bangladesh. He came to Malda on November 21 again with a valid passport and visa, and was scheduled to return to Bangladesh by April 10 this year. He had come to Malda in 2014 as well.
Intelligence officers ascertained that Enarul’s role was to recruit ‘carriers’ to circulate fake Indian currency notes (FICN) in India as well as find safe locations to smuggle the notes in to the country.
A senior officer of district intelligence wing said, “We were still in the dark when Enarul got the FICN consignment of Rs 8 lakh, but we are almost sure that he is one of the kingpins of FICN smuggling in India.”
Enarul operated largely under the Baishnabnagar police station in Malda. But increased BSF vigilance forced the smuggling racket to shift between Sabdalpur under Kaliachak police station and Kanchantar under Englishbazar police station, leading to Enarul’s arrest.
Investigators are currently trying to find Enarul’s associates who gave him shelter at Baburhat village and supplied the counterfeit money.