The Mumbai police chased a taxi carrying demonetised notes for 10 minutes before catching up to it and arresting four suspects in Ghatkopar on Wednesday. The money worth Rs1.51 crore has been seized.
A police official said that they had been tipped off about the cab and they laid a trap to nab the accused near Dipa hotel at LBS Marg in Ghatkopar. When the cab approached the spot, the police signaled the driver to stop but he sped off.
“We chased the cab for around half a kilometre before they were caught,” said Sachin Patil, deputy commissioner of police, zone 7. The four accused have been identified as driver Rizwan Ghulam Qazi, 45, Ayaz Ahktar and Danish Rafi, both 26, and Rehan Shaikh, 30.
“Those arrested are just the middlemen and we are looking out for more culprits,” said Patil. He added, “The money was kept in two bags in the backseat.” All the accused are residents of Reay Road in South Mumbai. They received the cash from there and were supposed to deliver it to a person in Gorai.
Preliminary investigation revealed that the accused were working on a commission. People who would exchange the old notes for new ones were to keep 55% of the amount while the owner was to get the remaining 45%. A police officer said that such incidents have been on the rise as people who had accumulated black money are making their last attempt in exchanging the notes. “The exchange rate kept increasing as the deadline inched closer. For instance, initially, the commission was 20% of the amount but now it has reached 55%,” said the officer.
The income tax department has been informed of the incident.
The Reserve Bank of India has allowed Indians who were abroad during November-December 2016 to exchange the old bank notes by March 31 while NRIs have time till June 30. “We are investigating to check if the window provided to NRIs is being misused,” said Patil.