Fake Indian rupees from Pakistan to India: Bangladesh a stopover
A transnational currency forgery syndicate has been smuggling fake Indian rupees into India from Pakistan for a couple of years using Sri Lanka and Bangladesh as transit.
The syndicate prints fake Indian currency notes in Pakistan's Lahore and then sends those to Sri Lanka by sea in containers loaded with marble stones.
From Sri Lanka, the containers are shipped to Chattogram port in Bangladesh.
The consignments are then sent to Dhaka by trucks with other goods.
In Bangladesh, the fake notes are stashed in "special chambers" at homes of syndicate members before smuggling those into India in small portions using land routes.
Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) officials involved in the investigation into fake currency smuggling yesterday disclosed this to The Daily Star, a day after the arrest of the syndicate's two Bangladeshi members -- Fatema Akter Opy and Sheik Md Abu Taleb.
Police also recovered fake Indian rupees worth around Rs 7.30 crore from Fatema's home in the capital's Dakshinkhan.
A high official of DMP (Gulshan Division) said Fatema married Pakistan national Danesh over a decade ago.
Danesh was arrested in 2010 over his involvement in note forgery, the official told this newspaper yesterday.
Fatema was also arrested before in a note forgery case filed with Motijheel Police Station.
"After coming out of jail, Danesh suffered a heart attack and became bedridden. Fatema then took over the illegal business and started controlling the syndicate's Bangladesh operations," said the DMP official, requesting anonymity.
Briefing reporters around noon yesterday, Md Asaduzzaman, deputy commissioner (Gulshan Division) of DMP, said police raided Khilkhet area on Friday night on information that a woman with fake Indian rupees was roaming around the main gate to Bonorupa residential area. Police arrested the woman from there and recovered fake Indian rupees worth Rs 50,000 from her.
Gleaning information from the arrestee, police later recovered fake Indian rupees from her home and picked up the syndicate's another member Taleb from Demra that same night, the DMP DC said.
Investigators said Fatema built a "special chamber" in her house to store the fake notes. Police recovered 95 sacks of fake rupees stored with 500 more sacks of marbles imported from Pakistan. This was done to dodge law enforcers.
A high official of DMP (Gulshan Division) involved in the investigation said Pakistani national Sultan is the mastermind of the syndicate and he is controlling its operations from Lahore.
His father Md Safi is also involved in the syndicate, the official added.
"Fatema visited Sultan's home in Pakistan several times. She used to call Safi her father," the DMP official said, quoting Fatema.
He said the syndicate used a "cutout system" for smuggling fake notes into India. This would allow the syndicate to keep one party in the dark about the other.
"The syndicate would just give a serial number of a fake note or a portion of a fake note to a second party. The consignment would be delivered to one party from another only if the serial number of the fake note matched," the DMP official said.
The syndicate use different border points of Bangladesh to smuggle the currency, said police.
Asked about payments for syndicate members, the DMP official said they would have an idea about it after interrogating the arrestees.
Meanwhile, a Dhaka Court yesterday placed the two arrestees on two-day remand each in a case filed by police with Khilkhet Police Station over the recovery of the fake Indian rupees.
Iftekhairul Islam, additional deputy commissioner (Gulshan Division) of DMP, said they had some information about the syndicate's activities, but it would take some time to have details on its members as they use the "cutout system".
"We are carrying out the investigating with the information available. We hope to trace the whereabouts of the absconding members of the syndicate soon," he told The Daily Star.