Uttar Pradesh for CBI probe into fake currency racket

August 9th, 2008 - 11:44 pm ICT by IANS  

Lucknow, Aug 9 (IANS) The Uttar Pradesh government has recommended a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the counterfeit currency scam in a State Bank of India (SBI) branch, sources said Saturday. Till now, Uttar Pradesh police and Special Task Force (STF) were carrying out the investigation.

Sudhakar Tripathi, a cashier of the State Bank of India (SBI) branch at Domariyaganj, had Thursday confessed to the police that he had exchanged fake currency notes worth Rs.15 million with the original ones in the bank’s currency chest.

A joint team of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), STF, Intelligence Bureau and the state police had interrogated Tripathi.

Significantly, though the currency chest has a sorting machine to check the quality of the notes, the fake currency racket was unearthed only after the arrest of Tripathi July 29.

A RBI team, which raided the branch Monday, has so far recovered fake notes valued at Rs.7 million and the scanning was still in progress, officials said.

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

The scam came to light when the STF of the state police arrested four people in possession of fake currency in Domariyaganj town of Sidharthnagar district last week.

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

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

Police officials fear a fake currency racket involving a staggering Rs.500 million might be thriving in the regions of Uttar Pradesh bordering Nepal.

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

“A case was lodged against Tripathi by Cirgainya Monday,” Shamsher Bahadur Singh of the Domariyaganj police station told IANS.

Meanwhile, SBI chief general manager (Uttar Pradesh) Shiv Kumar said they had not yet received any complaint from customers of the Domariyaganj branch regarding any fake currency they might have received from the branch.

The statistics of the Uttar Pradesh police indicate an alarming rise in fake currency recoveries compared to last year. While fake currency worth Rs.6.7 million was recovered in the state in 2007, the figure has already touched RS.20 million this year, police officials said.

Sensing the possibility that the scam might have its roots outside India, the state police has initiated proceedings to recommend a CBI probe in the scam, sources at the police headquarters here said.

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