Fake coin racket mastermind held in Delhi, brother on the run
The Delhi Police special cell have arrested the kingpin of an interstate gang that made fake R 10 and R 5 coins at clandestine factories in Delhi’s Bawana, Haryana and Rajasthan, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Bihar, police said on Tuesday.
A Maruti Celerio car and fake coins of the face value of R17,390 were seized from the 39-year-old kingpin, Sweekar Luthra, even as his brother and partner in crime Upkar Luthra are still at large.
They were into the illegal business since 1997.
Sweekar was wanted in several cases of minting of counterfeit coins and in connection with the murder of his business partner in Bihar in February 2016. Apart from India, the Luthras were using fake coins in countries such as Nepal.
This is the seventh arrest by Delhi Police in four operations. On October 1, the outer Delhi police busted the racket and arrested one Naresh Kumar with R40,000 in fake coins minted at a factory on the city’s outskirts.
A week later, the special cell arrested two more members of the gang, Gulshan Kumar and his nephew Sachin, with counterfeit coins of R5.85 lakh.
On October 15, Sanjay Sharma and Sunil Kumar were caught by the crime branch with 800 counterfeit currency coins of R10. Dyes used to make coins, two hydraulic machines and raw material was seized from them. Their interrogation led the police to a fake coin minting factory in west Delhi’s Peeragarhi.
Sanjeev Kumar Yadav, DCP (special cell), said interrogation of the arrested persons revealed that the racket was run by the Luthra brothers. The two went underground and were evading arrest even as the police raided their possible hideouts. “Sweekar was caught on Monday from west Delhi’s Mohan Garden,” said Yadav.
Son of an ex-Navy personnel, Sweekar told his interrogators that he took to crime in 1993-94 with snatching but was arrested soon. In 1997, his elder brother Upkar came in contact with Gulshan Gambhir of Dehradun, now dead, and learnt how to make fake coins.
“Luthras established a factory in west Delhi’s Nangli Sakrawati with Gambhir’s assistance and started minting counterfeit coins of R5 denominations. Upkar was first arrested in 1999 by the Connaught Place police but he neither disclosed his real identity nor told them about Sweekar’s role,” said Yadav.
Upkar was soon released on bail bur he continued the illegal business and set up another such factory in Anand Vihar. He was arrested again but released on bail. By 2008-09, Upkar became known in this illegal trade but Sweekar’s name stayed hidden.
When Upkar escaped to Nepal, Sweekar continued the business. Several people joined them in the illegal trade. A few of them were Satish, Pankaj Gupta, Ramesh Verma and others.
In 2015, Verma tried to take over the business from Sweekar. Realising that he was losing his supremacy in the trade, Sweekar hired some contract killers and got Verma eliminated in Bihar’s Forbesganj in February.
Upkar is suspected to be hiding in Nepal.