S. Vijay Kumar

CHENNAI: In a joint operation, the Tamil Nadu and Jharkhand police arrested D. Manarul Sheikh (48), an alleged kingpin involved in circulation of counterfeit currency notes across the country, in Jharkhand on December 22.

According to sources in the Crime Branch CID, a special team investigating many counterfeit currency cases that were reported in the recent past visited Jharkhand and West Bengal, as most of the accused persons hailed from there.

Acting on instructions from the Additional Director-General of Police (CBCID) Archana Ramasundaram, the team followed specific clues and arrested Sheikh at his native village in Sahibganj district.

“Sheikh is one of the most important accused and a key player in the circulation of Fake Indian Currency Notes (FICN) across the country. Preliminary investigation reveals that the fake notes came from Bangladesh and Nepal. We made enquiries along the international border and held discussions with the Customs and Border Security Force officials,” Deputy Superintendent of Police N. Mohan, who led the team, said.

He said the fake notes looked so original that even bank officials found it difficult to distinguish. The modus operandi of the prime suspect was to send large amounts of FICN through agents to various States where they would exchange them for making small purchases.

Keeping a commission for themselves, the accused would deposit the balance money in the account of Sheikh.

One of the cases being investigated by the team is that of a complaint lodged by a tea-shop owner in T. Nagar here on September 12. The complainant, Sudhakar of CIT Nagar, told the Mambalam police that two persons who bought soft drinks at his shop gave a thousand-rupee note which appeared suspicious.

Based on his input, police arrested Z. Alkash Sheikh (32) and M. Mohammed Raju Sheikh (30) of Sahibganj district in Jharkhand and three others.

Ninety-one FICN of Rs.1,000 denomination were seized from their possession.

“Sheikh was produced in a city court and lodged in the Puzhal Central Prison on Friday evening. It was a painstaking investigation for us. A major racket with international links seems to be involved in this case,” Mr. Mohan said.

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