Bangladesh, Myanmar links suspected in Sijubari fake note case
The police have not ruled out a link between the counterfeit currency episode at Sijubari and neighbouring Bangladesh and Myanmar.
Assistant commissioner of police Mousumi Kalita said, “It cannot be ruled out that the accused don’t have links with Bangladesh as interrogation revealed that they also got a contract for printing fake Myanmarese currency (Kyat) and we are trying to find out who gave them the contract.”
The police officer revealed that in the laptop which was recovered, there are folders with designs of fake notes but the folders are named after some places in the Northeast like Tripura and Mizoram. Both these states have borders with Bangladesh and Myanmar.
One of the accused, Jainal Ahmed, was earlier arrested and jailed for six months for involvement in a rhino horn smuggling case. After emerging from jail, he landed in Guwahati posing as a homeopathy doctor and rented the Sijubari house which was used as a fake note printing factory.
Giving details about the case, police informed that Ahmed had a fake voter card which falsely mentioned his village as Ramnathpur although he originally hailed from Dinanathpur village of Hailakandi. The other two accused are from Hailakandi and Karimganj respectively but the police have not ruled out the possibility that they could be illegal migrants from Bangladesh.
Soon after the racket was busted, the owners of the house - Shahida Latif Begum and Abu Akhtar Taher - were questioned but not arrested. Jainal had approached them for the house and had even submitted documents.
Police also questioned Noor Mohammad of Dwandha, Six Mile, from whose house the accused were arrested. Noor claimed that he had known the accused from the time he used to work in Hailakandi two years ago and had given them shelter without any knowledge of their involvement in criminal activities.
It is believed by security agencies that Bangladesh is one among the three neighbouring countries where fake Indian currency notes (FICN) are being printed. A report by the G-Branch of the Border Security Force (BSF) a few years ago had also identified some spots like Sherpur and Chittagong in Bangladesh where fake notes are produced.
The police feel that Jainal is a hardcore criminal who could provide valuable information about the racket that could have links with gangs in Myanmar and Bangladesh.
Counterfeit notes as good as real
The counterfeit currency notes recovered by the police in Sijubari looked as genuine to the eye as the real.
A source in the Hatigaon police station said, “Counterfeit Indian currency notes of Rs 500, Rs 2000 and Rs 200 amounting to a face value of Rs 3 lakhs were recovered and it looked almost real.”
The source revealed that the recovered fake notes can be easily used in the markets of Guwahati unless the notes are touched and checked thoroughly to be identified as fake.
Among the arrested accused Jainal Ahmed (45) and his two associates Azmal Haque (31) and Jiabuddin Lashkar (30), Jainal, the mastermind of the racket, had taken training on printing fake notes from Ajmal Hussain who is currently serving time in a Mizoram jail. The police are planning to quiz Ajmal for more information on the episode.
The police also recovered a laptop, scanner, printer, 17 colour cartridges, colours and other printing materials like tracing paper and screen printing stencil which were used for printing the fake notes.
Investigations have so far revealed that the original currency note is first scanned after which it is printed on the tracing paper and then with the help of screen printing stencil, it is printed on the fake currency note paper.
The source of the paper used for printing the fake notes is yet to be ascertained. Hence, the police will send the fake notes to forensic experts for obtaining further details.
Joint Commissioner of Police, Diganta Barah said, “We will send the fake notes to Reserve Bank of India or the Forensic Science Laboratory for further examination.”
Fake notes already in circulation in many markets
The Hatigaon police had busted the fake note printing factory on 6th November 2017 but many consignments of fake notes are already circulating in many markets of the state.
A source in Hatigaon Police said that a month ago the arrested gang had delivered a consignment of Rs 50,000 fake Indian currency notes to a team in Barpeta and the police will soon arrest that team.
The gang had been running the factory since the last six months and they used to take contracts from several other gangs across the state for printing fake notes.
Police sources said that the arrested accused have confessed that there are many gangs across the state that is pumping the fake notes into the system.