The Rural police have busted a major counterfeit currency racket with roots across Kerala and the southern States with the arrest of eight persons hailing from Malda district in West Bengal. Fake Indian currency of the face value of Rs.2.19 lakh was seized from them.

In a 12-hour operation at Parassala on the Kerala-Tamil Nadu border and in the State capital late on Friday and the early hours of Saturday, the rural police team recovered 140 fake notes in the Rs.1,000 denomination and 158 fake notes in the Rs.500 denomination from the arrested persons.

Huge network

District Police Chief, Thiruvananthapuram Rural, A. Akbar said all those arrested were aged between 19 and 22 years and were trained to exchange the fake notes reportedly printed in Bangladesh to shops in rural areas after purchasing small items. The arrested persons have admitted to having a huge network in the State and in other areas for distributing the counterfeit currency.

The racket came to light when two of the arrested persons purchased an article from a local footwear shop at Idichakkaplamoodu, near Parasala, on Friday evening and tried in vain to exchange a fake Rs.1,000 rupee note. The police team led by Sub-Inspector, Parassala, Arun picked the duo from Parasuvakkal and recovered 49 fake notes of Rs.1,000 denomination from them. Their questioning led to the arrest of the remaining six from lodges in Thiruvananthapuram.

The arrested are Immanul Haq, 19, Sirajul Haq, 22, Rubil Amin, 21, Islam Sheikh, 19, Ashul Alam, 21, Shakir Ali, 19, Rijahul Karim, 20, and Mujib Raheman, 19. A team led by the Dy.SP, Neyattinkara, P. Gopakumaran Nair, and Circle Inspectors (Neyattinkara) B.S. Sajimon, and S. M. Riyas (Parassala) arrested the accused.

According to the police, the counterfeit notes seized can be detected only by machines that have provision to detect fake notes based on the security paper used, ink used and using ultra violet rays.

The arrested have told the police that they were in the business for the last two years and they had roots in all districts of the State and in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. The police have also alerted banks on the basis of the information that they had distributed counterfeit currency across the State.