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City the likely new hotbed of fake currency dealers

kolkata Updated: Dec 19, 2012 11:27 IST
Bibhas Bhattacharyya
Bibhas Bhattacharyya
Hindustan Times
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Is Kolkata gradually turning a hub for fake Indian currency note (FICN)? With the arrest of Kunwar Singh, officers of the special task force (STF) think this may be closer to the truth than we’d like. The STF recovered Rs. 20,38,500 FICN from his possession and an investigation has been initiated at Bowbazar police station.

“Earlier, we observed that people would come from Nepal and Bangladesh to deliver FICN. This is first time we found someone from Nepal has come to purchase it. Observing the matter it appeared to us that the criminals have started using the city as a delivery zone,” said an officer attached to the STF.

On December 12, STF sleuths arrested five people, including Singh, from Bowbazar. “In 2010, we arrested Upender Choudhury and Kumar Gautam from New Market area. They came from Nepal to deliver FICN and we seized Rs. 47 lakh FICN from them. They were the direct dealers,” STF said. But that time is over, the trend has changed. Presently, people from Nepal are coming to Kolkata to purchase FICN. According to STF, this change may have been brought about for a scarcity of FICN in Nepal because of continuous pressure from Indian government on Nepal government to take action against the smuggling of FICN in India.

“The government of India uses a special kind of ink for denominating the currency. The ink is purchased from Switzerland. Later, Pakistan also started purchasing it saying that they would use it for the government documents but Pakistan is using it to make FICN,” a STF sleuth said.

To smuggle FICN into India, Pakistan has been using Nepal and Bangladesh as a trade route and Maldah in Bengal is one of the important entry gates. Taking the facility of porous border of Indo-Bangladesh border at Maldha district, the FICN is being smuggled.

“Since investigative agencies have been conducting raids frequently in Maldah district, the culprits became cautious and have been changing their delivery points. Kolkata is a busy city and people from every corner of Bengal come to Kolkata everyday. So it is very easy for someone to hide in so big crowd in Kolkata and the criminals are availing of this distraction,” STF said.