Rs 100 crore demonetised notes seized: Kanpur cops hunt for missing link in ‘money conversion racket’

Police recovered demonetised notes worth Rs 100 crore from a house in Kanpur on Tuesday night, and later arrested 16 people.

india Updated: Jan 19, 2018 15:55 IST
Haidar Naqvi
Haidar Naqvi
Hindustan Times
Demonetised currency seized,Kanpur police,Kanpur
Policemen carry boxes of demonetised notes worth Rs 97 crore that was recovered after a raid in Kanpur on Wednesday.(PTI Photo)

Over 40 hours have passed since Rs 96 crore in demonetised currency was seized during a police raid in the city, but investigators are yet to ascertain how the alleged racketeers planned to convert the old notes to new.

Police recovered the old notes from a house in Swaroop Nagar on Tuesday night, and later went on to arrest 16 people in this connection. They are now trying to nab two others – Hari Krishna from Bengaluru and Arun Kumar from Varanasi – who may hold the key to the mystery.

“We believe they are the masterminds behind this racket,” said an investigating officer on the condition of anonymity.

Read more: Hyderabad, Kolkata, Varanasi businessmen held

The officer claimed that many of the accused taken into custody – including Anand Khatri, Mohit Dhingra, Koteshwar Rao, Sanjay Singh, Santosh Pathak and Ali Hussain – believed Hari Krishna could help them convert the demonetised notes into legal currency. “We know for sure that these men have access to some money conversion mechanism. Khatri and Rao disclosed that they got around Rs 50 crore in old currency converted to Rs 15 crore in legal tender over the last six months.”

The investigator said the arrested people were confident that the Rs 96 crore in demonetised notes, collected from various businessmen, could also be exchanged in a similar manner. “And at the heart of their optimism was Hari Krishna and his contact person, Arun Kumar,” he added.

As of now, Rao has given the police two theories on the money-conversion mechanism. While one concerns NRIs working for a “big company”, the second pertains to offshore companies allegedly pushing their money for conversion.

To back his claim, Rao showed a Whatsapp message sent to him by the senior executive of an undisclosed firm to the police.

Read more: Where to stash Rs 100 cr? Cops ponder after haul of demonetised notes in Kanpur

Inspector general (Kanpur zone) Alok Singh said police were following up every lead, including the company theory. “The claims are being verified. It would be better if I commented only after that,” he added.

Police said Khatri – whose companies have an annual turnover of Rs 40 crore – had allegedly created this ring with the help of Dhingra, a Kanpur businessman. It was through Dhingra that he got in touch with Sanjay Singh and Santosh Pathak, who – in turn – introduced them to Kolkata real estate brokers Manish Agarwal and Sanjiv Agarwal. The Agarwals put them in touch with Rao, who then dealt with Hari Krishna and Arun Kumar.

As per their plan, Khatri and his team would collect demonetised currency from businessmen while Rao handled the conversion part. The businessmen were promised 15-40% of the total money collected from them.

The officer said Khatri and his aides allegedly generated Rs 30 crore for conversion through agents in the last one month. “Rao introduced him to Hari Krishna, who assured that the money could be exchanged. Although he wasn’t told how, Khatri had complete confidence in the man,” he added.

First Published: Jan 18, 2018 20:50 IST