Notes have been printed in Pakistan and smuggled into India via Bangladesh

During the raids which began across the country on Sunday, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) busted an international racket involved in printing, smuggling and circulation of Fake Indian Counterfeit Currency (FICN).

The agency arrested 10 suspects, including three in Chennai and four in Hyderabad, and seized high-quality FICN printed in Pakistan and smuggled into India via Bangladesh, highly placed police sources said.

In a joint operation, a special team comprising personnel of the NIA, the Border Security Force and the West Bengal police arrested Morgen Hossain (23) of Malda in West Bengal on Monday. Suspected to be the kingpin of FICN operations in India, Hossain was alleged to have agents across the country who entered different States in the guise of construction workers. Their modus operandi was to circulate FICN of Rs. 1,000, Rs. 500 and Rs. 100 denomination notes.

Construction workers

Investigators seized Rs. 27,000 FICN from the suspect and based on his information and specific intelligence inputs they conducted raids in New Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal. They arrested Habibul Rahaman (26), Abdul Mutalik (25) and Prashant Mondal (23) of Malda working in Chennai, Manik Sheikh (24) of Malda in West Bengal, Bahadur Yadav (30) of New Delhi, Sajib-ul-Haq (20), Anwar (21), Jamal Sheik (24) and Akram (19) of Malda working in Hyderabad. Almost all the accused were employed as construction workers, the sources said.

Unemployed youth of Malda were lured into the network and sent to different States to distribute the FICN. They would make small purchases in shops using FICN. Another modus operandi was to exchange by offering three times the quantum against original currency.

“The quality of FICN is almost 98 per cent accurate. Only an expert using relevant equipment can detect that it is a fake note. The prime suspect and his main associates are part of a gang that is operating at the behest of a terrorist organisation,” an investigator said.

The original currency gathered by the accused in various States would be deposited in the bank account of Hossain and they would get a commission for it. “We have asked bank officials to freeze the bank accounts of the suspects and further investigation is on to identify the entire network involved in the offence in India and abroad,” he said.