Fake currency kingpin was a Robin Hood of sorts

August 8th, 2008 - 4:34 pm ICT by IANS  

Domariyaganj (Uttar Pradesh), Aug 8 (IANS) Sudhakar Tripathi, the alleged kingpin of the fake currency racket at the State Bank of India (SBI) branch here, was fondly called Baba (saint) and was known to make donations for religious and social purposes. Besides donating money for religious events in the town, investigations revealed that Tripathi also used to lend money to poor people. He did however charge a small interest on the money he lent.

“We fear that the money (donated by Tripathi) might have been fake currency,” said Ganga Sagar, a priest at a local temple.

Tripathi also used to release the salary of people with a salary account in the bank in advance in lieu of a small amount. Locals also suspect his involvement in other financial bungling.

Tripathi, a 58-year-old bachelor, has been posted in the same SBI branch since in 1974. He was scheduled to retire in 2010.

“He neither has a house of his own nor have we found details of any land in his possession,” a member of the interrogation team said. Tripathi lives in a modest rented house.

Tripathi, during interrogation, admitted to exchanging fake currency notes worth Rs.15 million with the original ones from the currency chest.

The scam was unearthed with the arrest of Tripathi on July 29 following a tip-off from four persons who had been caught circulating fake currency.

Tripathi, a cashier at the branch, had his own account there. The account, which contained Rs.200,000, has been sealed.

A Reserve Bank of India (RBI) team, which raided the branch Monday, has so far recovered fake notes with a denominational value of Rs.7 million.

It is suspected that the recovery may further rise to Rs.20 million after the sorting process is over.

Tripathi was interrogated by the police Thursday. The police held that the remand time of nine hours granted by a court was too small and Tripathi would have to be interrogated again.

“We have gathered some vital clues after his interrogation and some more arrests are expected in this connection,” additional superintendent of police Rakesh Shanker said.

Meanwhile the police arrested three other people of the same gang from Mau district late Thursday and recovered fake currency worth Rs.45,000 from them.

“The arrested persons, Shahid, Shahnawaz and Noorul Islam, during interrogation, revealed that the fake currency was supplied to them by Suhail Singh,” Superintendent of police (Mau) M.K. Mishra told IANS.

Suhail Singh was arrested in Lucknow last month and following his interrogation the police subsequently nabbed Abid Sheikh, along with three others and Tripathi from Domariyaganj.

In a similar development, an RBI team, during a routine check in a private bank in Agra district Thursday, recovered fake currency notes worth Rs.1,250.

“We have lodged a report against the bank manager and investigations are in process,” said P.P. Singh, a member of the investigation team.

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