The police are yet to arrest the kingpin

A member of the Mandya City Municipal Council (CMC) is among five persons who have been arrested for allegedly operating a “currency doubling” racket.

The Srirangapatna subdivision police, who arrested them on Monday, seized a .22 calibre revolver, Rs. 25 lakh in cash, two cars, a note-counting machine, a fake note detector and seven mobile phones from them.

M.S. Geetha Prasanna, Deputy Superintendent of Police, Srirangapatna subdivision, gave the names of the arrested as M.P. Arunkumar (49), the councillor; M. Shivaramu alias Shivarame Gowda (39) of Ankegowdana Koppalu in Pandavapura taluk, S. Manjunath (40) of Marigudi Street in Ganjam, near Srirangapatna, R. Ramesh (42) of Srirangapatna, and R. Chethan Kumar (27) of Gandhi Nagar here.

They were arrested from Hotel Sachin, off Bangalore–Mysore Highway, in Srirangapatna by a team led by Ms. Geetha Prasanna and Pandavapura inspector Azaruddin following a tip-off. The alleged kingpin, Imtiyaz of Mysore, however, managed to escape.

Police officials believe that the gang members were running the racket in several districts, including Mandya and Mysore. They were allegedly cheating people by giving them counterfeit notes.

The police launched the operation after learning that the gang members had asked a farmer to get Rs. 50 lakh to Pandavapura on Monday night. The suspects, however, changed their location to Hotel Balaji in Srirangapatna. As they did not get rooms in the hotel, they went to Hotel Sachin, from where they were eventually arrested, a police officer said.

Preliminary investigations revealed that Mr. Arunkumar was in touch with the gang members from Ganjam, Srirangapatna and Mysore, according to the police. They said Shivaramu was an offender in several cases of theft and cheating.

The Srirangapatna police, who have registered a case, produced the arrested in a court. They have been remanded in judicial custody for 15 days.

The police have formed a team to find the source of the counterfeit notes that the arrested were circulating.

Mr. Arunkumar, former president of the Mandya CMC, was expelled from the Janata Dal (S) after he refused to resign in 2012 to honour an agreement within the party on sharing the post.

He later won the election to the CMC from ward no. 11 as an Independent and supported the Congress in the recent elections to the posts of CMC president and vice-president.

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