NIA sleuths probing the seizure of fake Indian currency notes (FICN) in Malda has landed clinching evidence, which suggests that accused Barkat Ali is an adult and not minor as he claimed in court earlier.
Barkat, who was arrested by Baishnabnagar police of Malda for carrying FICN of face value Rs 64 lakh, had claimed in court the he was 15 and hence ought to be treated as a minor. Later, the NIA officers checked his school record that said he was born on January 2, 2000.
However, in a clinching piece of evidence that nailed Barkat lie, the NIA sleuths, on Saturday, accessed a voters’ list of Baishnabnagar village which had Barkat’s name on it. His age, in the list, was mentioned as 22.
However, the father of the FICN courier claimed his son doesn’t hold a voter’s identity card.
The NIA officers got in touch with officials of the district election commission and sought details of Barkat’s voter’s ID. “They sent us a voters’ list, which had reference to his card number and part number along with his photograph,” an NIA officer said.
The sleuths would soon request the district poll officials to furnish documents in lieu of which Barkat was issued a voter’s ID. In the light of the new evidence, the NIA is also likely to challenge Barkat’s ‘minor’ claim in court.
Earlier, the NIA officers said that if found to be juvenile, Barkat would only be convicted for a maximum period of three years.
The NIA had moved an appeal in court urging that the FICN courier be charged under UAP(A) (Unlawful Activities Prevention Act). Filing an appeal with the special NIA court in Kolkata on July 16, the sleuths said they wanted him charged under sections of UAP(A), as the fake notes seized from him were of “high quality”.
Under UAP(A), circulation of “high quality” FICN could be treated as terrorist activity. The NIA’s plea is to come up for hearing on Monday. If granted, this would be the first time that an accused in an FICN case in Bengal would be charged under UAP(A).
In a joint raid on May 6, the BSF and Baishnabnagar police seized FICN of face value Rs 64 lakh from the courier. The case was assigned to the NIA on June 6.
“We need to interrogate him for more leads and have, hence’ appealed for his custody. If charged under UAP(A), we’ll have him on a 90-day remand. We’d then have more time on our hands to grill him for leads and track down all racketeers,” an NIA officer had been quoted as saying earlier.
In the light of the new piece of evidence, the sleuths are confident that Barkat would be charged under UAP(A) sections and granted NIA custody.