Large-scale fake currency racket suspected in Uttar Pradesh (Lead)

August 5th, 2008 - 11:10 pm ICT by IANS  

Lucknow, Aug 5 (IANS) Police officials fear a fake currency racket worth Rs.500 million might be thriving in regions of Uttar pradesh bordering Nepal, after the recovery of fake notes in a public sector bank’s currency chest. Reserve Bank of India (RBI) officials and Uttar Pradesh police officials recovered fake currency nominally worth Rs.2 million during a raid on the currency chest of State Bank of India’s Domariyaganj branch near the border with Nepal Monday night.

Cash for all branches of the bank in the region is distributed from this chest.

According to bank sources, 20 bundles of Rs.1,000 currency notes were found to be carrying the same serial number (5 CK 756601).

“A case was lodged against arrested bank cashier Sudhakar Tripathi by manager Dashrath Cirgainya Monday,” Shamsher Bahadur Singh of the Domariyaganj police station told IANS.

The bank officials have also been asked to lodge a final complaint after ascertaining the exact amount of fake currency notes once their scanning process is over, he added.

A bank source said: “It will take at lest 15 to 20 days to verify the authenticity of all the currency notes in the bank’s currency chest.”

During the raid, the team also found a sum of about Rs.7 million missing from the bank’s chest.

Additional Director General of Police Brij Lal said: “This racket has been thriving with the connivance of the bank staff, who were clearly found to be involved in clandestine replacement of notes with fake currency.”

“This was the first time that a public sector bank was found to have been used to systematically push counterfeit currency into the open market,” he said.

Bank manager Cirgainya said the chest had about Rs.1.84 billion and the bank branch supplies cash to smaller branches of the district and neighbouring districts.

“The bank transacts around Rs.1 crore (Rs.10 million) a day. The good turnover is because most of the people of Domariyaganj work in Gulf countries,” he said.

About Rs.4 million is also withdrawn daily from the ATMs of the bank throughout the city, he added.

The scam came to light with the arrest last week of four people with wads of fake currency notes in Domariyaganj town.

“Sustained interrogation of Abid Sheikh alias Pundit, who was among those arrested, gave us leads to cashier Tripathi, from whose residence we discovered Rs.700,000 in cash,” Lal told IANS.

However, the police found only Rs.5,000 of that amount to be fake.

Tripathi, who started his career in 1974, has been working with this branch for most of his career. “He remained there till 1986, and barring transfer for a small period after this, he remained posted there till the time of his arrest,” the bank source informed.

The police, after Tripathi’s arrest, urged senior RBI officials to scan the currency chests of different banks, particularly in the towns bordering Nepal.

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