Fake currency racket in Bangladesh sets police on LeT trail

March 8th, 2008 - 11:47 am ICT by admin  

By Soudhriti Bhabani
Kolkata, March 8 (IANS) West Bengal Police are tracking a fake currency racket operating out of Bangladesh for channelling funds to terrorist groups like Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) to carry out subversive activities across India. With the arrest of four men including three Kashmiris on the charge of carrying fake currency Tuesday, West Bengal Police claim to have learnt of the presence of an international counterfeit currency racket operating out of Bangladesh and used by Pakistan-based terrorist modules to fund strikes on Indian soil.

“We are assuming that these fake currencies are coming from Bangladesh through agents. The three Kashmiri people came here to collect the counterfeit currency. According to our information, many Pakistan-based terrorist modules, mainly Lashkar-e-Toiba, use these bogus currencies to fund their subversive activities in Kashmir and other parts of India,” a senior state police official told IANS.

He said the police are now carrying out further investigations to find out more about the network.

Four people, including three Kashmiri linkmen, were arrested March 4 from Baharampur in Murshidabad district of West Bengal with bogus currency.

Police said a number of local youths are involved in this fake currency racket in Murshidabad district. Hafizul Rahman, a local youth of Beldanga area in Murshidabad, and three outsiders - Mansur Ahmed, Mohammad Yusuf and Firoz Ahmed - were arrested. They were produced before a local court, which remanded them in police custody.

According to army intelligence inputs, organised international groups of criminals based abroad, particularly in neighbouring countries, have taken up the activity of printing and circulating fake Indian currency notes with a view to financing terrorists, trafficking of drugs and smuggling in arms and explosives for the purpose of destabilising the economy of the country.

These counterfeit currencies come to India through Assam and West Bengal and finally reach the rural areas of Kashmir.

Police said Pakistan-based operatives were pushing fake currency into India through a wide network of their associates based in Thailand, Nepal and Bangladesh.

“The fake currencies are generally used by Pakistan-based terrorist organisation Lashkar-e-Toiba. It’s believed that these currencies come from Bangladesh side through several middlemen and flood the Indian market,” defence spokesperson R.K. Das told IANS.

India shares a 4,095-km-long border with Bangladesh, including 2,216 km along West Bengal, part of which is porous, unfenced and prone to frequent infiltration.

He said it’s not necessary that the fake currencies are sent to Kashmir all the time but may be supplied to Mumbai, Delhi, Ahmedabad and many other parts of the country.

“We are keeping a close watch on this network across the country. Investigations are continuing,” Das said.

During the bi-annual border conference between India and Bangladesh, which was held in Dhaka last October, Border Security Force (BSF) Director General A.K. Mitra also discussed the cross-border fake currency issue with his Bangladeshi counterpart.

Both the countries had agreed to build up a joint mechanism to curb this growing menace.

The BSF seized counterfeit Indian currency worth Rs.500,000 from the border areas in 2007.

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